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The guns fall silent - but no peace for Tamils
OVER 70,000 mainly Tamil demonstrators marched through London on 20 June, angered by the continued misery of the Tamil people following the Sri Lankan government's military defeat of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).
250,000 Tamils are being held in detention camps in the north of Sri Lanka, which could become long term or permanent. The conditions in the camps are appalling. They are surrounded by barbed wire and government troops and there is no access for journalists or aid agencies, while paramilitary groups roam throughout the camps removing suspected LTTE members or sympathisers. There are reports that girls are being separated from their families and being sexually abused.
It is clear that while the guns have been silenced there is no peace for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the rest of the country's population is suffering the economic effects of the war, as well as the Rajapakse government's attacks on democratic rights.
Socialist Party members on the demo highlighted the plight of Tamils in the camps. We called for a withdrawal of the troops, for independent trade unions and democratic rights for all workers and poor people in Sri Lanka and a mass movement of workers and the poor to fight for the right to self-determination of the Tamil people.
Many of the protesters agreed with us that the United Nations, riven by imperialist interests and the rivalries of the major powers, is incapable of defending Sri Lanka's Tamil people.
- 'Tamil Solidarity: for the rights of workers and all oppressed people in Sri Lanka' protest: 24 July outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London from 4pm-6pm, see www.stoptheslaughteroftamils.org for details.
In The Socialist 24 June 2009:
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Socialist Party statement