Thousands to attend rally near EU Secretariat in Brussels
[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 October 2005, 20:59 GMT]
Thousands of diaspora Tamils in Europe are expected to participate in Eluthamil (Tamil uprising) rally near the European Union (EU) Secretariat Monday noon "to express solidarity with the Tamil people in NorthEast homeland in their search for peace with justice, and to urge EU to recognize Tamils right to self-determination and not to impose unilateral punitive measures on Tamils' only politico-military force, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam," according to organizers. More than 150 coaches will transport around 10,000 participants from European countries, mainly from Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, to Brussels, Belgium on Monday for the rally, organizers added.
Officials organizing the rally said that this was the first time in the Tamil diaspora history that Tamil organizations of all hues -social, cultural, political, women and children welfare organisations, sports clubs and societies of Tamil people spread across EU Member States- are jointly participating protesting the stand taken by EU against the Liberation Tigers, the organisers said.
Map of EU member countries
Organisers said that they had to make alternate arrangements until the very last stages to meet the transport needs of people who expressed interest in joining the rally after the deadline.
A number of political and human rights activists working with the Tamils in Europe, US and elsewhere will be addressing the rally, organizers said.
Parliamentary representatives from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will also be addressing the rally, the organizers who were preparing the declaration to be read at the event, told TamilNet Sunday evening.
According to the organizers, the main demands expected to be included as part of the rally declaration are, to:
- Request the EU to treat both, the Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE as equal members in all aspects of the Peace Process initiatives;
- Seek removal of the travel restrictions imposed by the EU on LTTE Delegations to EU Member Countries and requests the EU not to list the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. Proscribing LTTE will irrecoverably harm the peace process by denying the LTTE the ability to consult with Tamils in Europe on matters related peace negotiations;
- Declare solidarity with the EU for its support to Norway's role as facilitator in the peace process;
- Request the EU to exert pressure on both parties to respect and implement the Cease-Fire Agreement signed in 2002, facilitated by Norway with full commitment; and
- Seek EU to pressure Sri Lanka Government to begin immediate implementation of the Post Tsunami Operational and Management Structure (P-TOMS) signed by both parties to alleviate the suffering of tsunami victims and to urgently begin the task of rebuilding destroyed villages and homes.