Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/593/8044

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 September 2009

Defiant Tamil protest

TAMIL PEOPLE have begun mobilising again with the first of weekly Friday protests outside Downing Street in response to the horrific conditions in internment camps in Sri Lanka. Hundreds of thousands of Tamils, including elderly people and young children, are being held under armed guard in filthy camps with inadequate sanitation, water, food, shelter and medical facilities.

Manny Thain

Janani Paramsothy of the Tamil Youth Organisation, which organised the protest, explained to The Socialist how the Tamil community felt betrayed by the inaction of the British government and other agencies: "With all the protests earlier in the year we expected the British government to do something. With all the killing - 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, no one knows - the people in Vanni [where the final army assault took place] expected the government to do something, too."

The protests she refers to were massive. In Britain, the majority of the Tamil population came onto the streets in demonstrations which reached 200,000 at their height. And 24-hour vigils in Parliament Square were maintained for nearly two months. Numerous Tamils lost their jobs, while students failed or underperformed in exams as the relentless protests took their toll.

Understandably, when the Sri Lankan army overran the Tamil areas and the people were rounded up into the camps, dismay and exhaustion kicked in. "Over the summer," Janani said, "we knew we had to continue but the demos were not sustainable. Then, the Channel 4 TV footage came out [showing the apparent summary execution of Tamils] and we knew we had to respond, that now, we can't stay silent. Of course, we knew those things were happening - info always gets out, at great risk - but when we saw it, it was shocking."

Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, denies all allegations against the military, as well as the suffering in the camps. But, as Janani points out: "If it's not true, why won't they let the media in?"

Under pressure from mounting international anger and the reports from human rights organisations, which are not allowed into the area, the UN is now threatening to withdraw funding for the camps. And the EU has warned that it will cancel a $1 billion trade concession to the Sri Lankan government.

However, Rajapaksa feels he can resist such pressure, bolstered by Sri Lankan links with China and India, as well as Libya and Burma among others. Many British and western companies continue to hold important commercial interests in Sri Lanka. As ever, big business interests dominate Gordon Brown's agenda.

The latest leaflet by Tamil Solidarity: 'for the rights of workers and all oppressed people in Sri Lanka', distributed by Socialist Party members, was well received. The Downing Street protests mark an important new stage in the struggle against the oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

One of the big issues to address is how to widen support, to help overcome the isolation felt by many in the Tamil community. Taking the campaign into the trade unions would make a significant contribution, and Tamil Solidarity will do all it can to assist in this task. That working-class based approach is why Tamil Solidarity also defends Sri Lankan socialists, union activists and the journalists brave enough to challenge the censorship of the regime, against severe state repression, whether they be Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim or from other ethnic and religious groups.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 16 September 2009:

Big business to blame for climate change


No Job Cuts

No to cuts in jobs and services

Capitalist market prescribes diet of cuts

TUC conference - reactions to Brown's speech

TUC conference: Fightback rally


War and occupation

End the Afghan nightmare now


Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Anglesey Aluminium to save jobs

Rover - Gangster capitalists were treated as saviours

London RMT: Discussing an election coalition

Leeds council workers on indefinite strike

National Greed

Construction workers' pay - reject the deal!

The fight against the building blacklist


Socialist Students

Students left penniless

Cardiff: Youth Fight for Jobs

College workers strike against vicious cuts


Vestas

Vestas: the fight is far from over

Coventry Socialist Party councillors show support for Vestas


Socialist Party feature

Interview with POA leader Brian Caton


Socialist Party women

Victory - Decent jobs not exploitation


Socialist Party review

A life of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

Japan: Election ends Liberal Democrats' 54-year reign

Bangladesh: Angry protests at police attacks

Sri Lanka: Defiant Tamil protest


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 September 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Tamil:

triangleTamil youth march for justice

triangleProtesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime

triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleInterview: Refugee Rights Campaign

Sri Lanka:

triangleFacebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleMy time in a detention centre

triangleTamil Solidarity demands refugee rights

Tamil Solidarity:

triangleSweden: School strike against deportations

triangleMass rally to commemorate 1917 Russian Revolution

Solidarity:

triangleOxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

triangleSudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/2/18

UCU

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

21/2/18

Strike

German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

21/2/18

Cardiff

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

21/2/18

Nottingham

Nottingham hospital black alert

21/2/18

East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

21/2/18

West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

21/2/18

Wales

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

21/2/18

Bradford

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

21/2/18

May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

21/2/18

Kirklees

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

21/2/18

Salford

Save Salford nurseries!

21/2/18

Caerphilly

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

21/2/18

Council

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

21/2/18

Leicester

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

21/2/18

UCU

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999