2nd Lead (Adds details, photos)

Troops fire on Valaichenai protestors, 1 killed

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 May 2005, 10:51 GMT]
A 65 year old man was killed and at least 15 other civilians were wounded when Sri Lankan security forces opened fire on large crowds of people protesting Monday, demanding removal of new Army checkpoints set up near a school in the Batticaloa district. Five women were among those wounded when soldiers and police fired assault rifles for over 10 minutes at Santhiveli, 27 km. north of Batticaloa on the Valaichenai road, sources said. International ceasefire monitors and reporters witnessed the incident, they said.

Over 2,000 people, including children from the school were protesting on both sides of the checkpoint, sources said.

Batticaloa Protest.
Wounded at the hospital.
One protestor, Mr. Kandasamy, 65, was killed instantly when troopers opened fire, eyewitnesses said. Eight people were wounded by gunfire and others were injured when they were assaulted by the security forces.

Mr. Kandasamy’s body is lying at the Eravur hospital awaiting identification by relatives, sources said. Seven men and five women injured in the incident have been admitted to Valaichenai hospital. Several have been admitted to Eravur hospital, hospital sources said.

Batticaloa demo
Wounded civilian.
Ms. Sivasambu, 53, who had been admitted to the Eravur Hospital with gunshot injuries to his back was moved to Batticaloa hospital.

Reporter with Sri Lankan state television, Rupavahini, and school teacher, Mr Nashar (39), was also injured and has been moved from Eravur to Batticaloa hospital, sources said.

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) checkpoint established recently between Kiran and Morakkeddanchenai, had raised anxieties amongst local residents, including parents of children attending a school in the area.

Residents said it was one of three established during the last two days in the area. The new checkpoints are on the Batticaloa -Colombo main road, near the main market and near the ferry point that provides transport to LTTE controlled area.

A large number of civilians had gathered Monday morning around 8 a.m. on both sides of the check post demanding its removal.

Soldiers and police, angered by the protest, started beating the protesters. The protesters responded by throwing stones and sticks at the troopers.

Suddenly the SLA and police persons at the check post opened fire at people demonstrating on both side of the post, The firing went on for nearly 10 minutes, the correspondent said.

Four Tamil parliamentarians, T Kanagasabai, Mrs K Thangeswary, P Arianendran and S Jeyananthamoorthy, and members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) were at the site when the shooting took place, sources said.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka’s largest Tamil party has called for a hartal (general shutdown) Tuesday.

Batticaloa Protest.

Batticaloa Protest.


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