Lankan minister leads anti-British protests over Oxford snub

Last Updated: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 16:30

Colombo: Hundreds of pro-government
supporters led by a cabinet minister tried to storm the
British High Commission in the Sri Lankan capital to protest
what they called UK`s supports to Tamil separatists.

The protests erupted a day after after the country`s
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was stopped from addressing
students at UK`s prestigious Oxford University and Channel 4
aired alleged footage of widespread human rights violations by
Sri Lankan armed forces in the closing stages of the decisive
war against Tamil Tigers.

"Down with UK`s Sri Lankan policy," and "Don`t support
terrorists", shouted the marchers led by Housing Minister
Wimal Weerawansa, outside the British High Commission. Waving
Sri lankan flags, they attempted to forcibly enter the
premises but were barred by police.

The minister accused the Whitehall of silently
supporting the sympathisers of vanquished Tamil Tigers by
allowing them to stage protests against Rajapaksa during his
state visit to England.

"We have taken to the streets against the uncivilised
act of the British Government," Weerawansa said and described
the protesters against Rajapaksa as "terrorists".

"How can UK Government allow LTTE supporters to
demonstrate when they have banned Tamil Tiger group in
England," he said, accusing London of being partisan to the

The protesters in England accused Rajapaksa of war
crimes, while crushing Tamil separatists in the country last
year. They called for arrest of Sri Lankan President and his
trial by international jury.

The protests in Colombo came as Britain joined its
Western allies, UN and rights groups, to call for an
independent probe into the possible human rights violations
during its civil war.


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First Published: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 16:30

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