Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/587/7533
The Socialist 7 July 2009 |
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Sri Lanka: Protest over DfID role
TAMIL SOLIDARITY, which campaigns for the rights of all workers and the oppressed in Sri Lanka, organised a protest recently against UK government financial support for the repressive, chauvinist Sri Lankan government.
Senan, Tamil Solidarity
The UK Department for International Development recently announced an additional £5 million of 'humanitarian funding' for Sri Lanka, bringing the total contribution to the warmongering Sri Lankan government to £12.5 million since September 2008.
This is on top of "commercial sales of more than £13.6 million of equipment [from British companies over the last three years], including armoured vehicles, machine-gun components and semiautomatic pistols, according to official records" (The Times, 2/6/09).
Over 70 people joined the protest outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in central London on 24 June to demand the provision of food, housing and health facilities to Tamil people and refugees, administered under the control of their own elected and accountable representatives.
FCO officials refused to meet the protesters, but we made sure that our voice was heard by shouting out slogans such as "not a penny not a bullet for the Rajapakse regime" and "shut down the [detention] camps now".
Protesters thanked Tamil Solidarity committee member Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, who led the chanting and who explained that the better way to offer aid to the victims of the civil war was through elected representatives representing the dispossessed Tamil community with the backing of independent trade unions, etc.
Other protesters who spoke expressed anger over the inexcusable silence of the media and Western governments on the continued Tamil repressions and lack of democratic rights in Sri Lanka, and pledged to continue their protests to end discrimination and exploitation in that country.
A majority of the protesters joined the Tamil Solidarity campaign and donated over £42 to the campaign funds.