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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 November 2008

Sri Lanka: Acting out oppression

OVER 20 amateur actors caught the attention of those out in East Ham, east London, on Sunday 2 November. This protest was organised to highlight the terrible plight of the people living in the Vanni area in Sri Lanka.

The bloody war between the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government continues and it is ordinary people who suffer. Thousands are trapped in this LTTE controlled area, where they are faced with starvation.

The government has exacerbated the situation by building a wall and treating the entire population as if they belong to the LTTE group which they deem to be terrorists. Ordinary people have no way out. The protest was organised by thesamnet.net.

These 'actors' of all ages were not just providing some much-needed distraction from the problems facing the population of one of the poorest boroughs but were bringing a political message.

They came together to protest through the form of street theatre in East Ham, which has a large Sri Lankan population and were warmly welcomed by the locals, who not only participated, but brought food and coffee for the actors.

The street theatre depicted the way people living in the Vanni area in Sri Lanka are trapped. Neither the LTTE nor the Sri Lankan government offer any solution. The play showed how ordinary people must break away and fight to defend themselves.

People watching said that they wanted to see the performance again and that it should be brought to other places. Some offered to join in.

Senan

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