Monks protest against peace deal
[TamilNet, Monday, 22 April 2002, 19:29 GMT]
Hundreds of Buddhist monks protested against peace talks between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's government and the Liberation Tigers in downtown Colombo Monday. "The interim administration is a ploy to hand over the northeast to the Tigers. The United National Front government is betraying the Sinhalese", said a spokes person for the protesting monks.
The protest march through the city's business hub was called by the National Bhikku Front, a Sinhala nationalist organisation of monks with branches in all the Sinhala majority districts of the island.
The protesting monks denounced the proposal of Mr. Wickremesinghe's party to establish an interim adminstration managed by the Liberation Tigers to run the northeastern province. They said that the United National Front government is planning to carve out a separate state for the Tamils by handing over the northeastern province of the island to the LTTE in the guise of the interim administration.
The protesting monks warned the Mr. Wickremesinghe's government not to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers. The spokes person for the National Bikkhu Front said that their protest would soon spread to other parts of Sri Lanka.
The monks marched from downtown Colombo to the Prime Minister's official residence, the Temple Trees, to hand over a memorandum urging the UNF not to lift the ban on the Tigers and not to hand over the interim administration to the them (the LTTE).
They were however barred from doing so by the Police.
The spokes person for the front said that the UNF government was betraying the Sinhalese by letting the Tigers run the administration of the northeastern province.
The marchers carrying banner decrying the proposed interim administration for the northeast. (Photo:TamilNet)
Police attempting to persuade monks marching to the prime minister's residence to turn back. (Photo:TamilNet)