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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013

Tamil Solidarity looks at 65 years of 'independence' in Sri Lanka

Akila Kumar and Senan, Tamil Solidarity

Around 100 people attended the Tamil Solidarity meeting at Queen Mary University, east London, on 4 February - Sri Lanka's independence day - entitled: "65 years since independence - who benefited?"

Tamil Solidarity supporters, students, trade unionists, activists from the British Tamil Forum and other organisations were present.

The first discussion gave a brief historical background to independence and what followed from it. Tamils, and the majority of the Sri Lankan population, gained little out of the 'transfer' of political power from the British Empire to the local elite.

The meeting discussed campaigning plans, including a protest at the Commonwealth Business Council, as the Commonwealth meeting takes place in Sri Lanka this year. The potential role of boycotts, particularly tourism boycotts, was also debated.

Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Steward Network, and Tracy Edwards, from the PCS civil service union, spoke about the role of the trade union movement, which has been an essential part of building Tamil Solidarity.

Paul Callanan, from Youth Fight for Jobs, urged Tamil students to join other students in campaigning for free education and against cuts and privatisation.

The discussion was opened up, allowing others to contribute their ideas, thoughts and disagreements. Speakers responded to questions about Tamil Solidarity's work.

Student volunteers came together at the end of the meeting to form an action group.

See tamilsolidarity.org for more

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