Thousands march in Pottuvil against buffer zone

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 June 2005, 16:16 GMT]
Around ten thousand protesters from all three communities from Pottuvil to Panama, jointly marched Monday morning from 8.00 AM to 12.00 AM demanding the removal of the 200 meter buffer zone. Demonstrators shouted slogans against the different restrictions, 38 meter buffer zone in Hambantota in the South as opposed to the 200 meter buffer zone imposed in NorthEast. The protest march organised by Pottuvil All Community Forum was backed up by a widely observed hartal. All shops in Pottuvil remained closed. Residents setup road blocks and burnt tires across major roads. Security was beefed up in Pottuvil by the Police, Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Special Task Force (STF) soldiers.

Around 600 foreign nationals, including businessmen and employees from the tourism sector, participated in the march supporting the residents.

The demonstrators also shouted slogans against UPFA-Muslim Ministers and MPs, Ms. Ferial Ashraff, Mr. A.L.M Ataulla and UNP MP Mr.P.Dayaratne, who were accused of not taking efforts to prevent the 200 meter restriction being imposed.

The protest march which began at Sinna Ullai Al Aqbar school ended at Periya Ullai Town Administrative and Development Council.

Petitions addressed to Sri Lanka's President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, Environmental Minister A.H.M Fowzi, Opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, Tamil National alliance (TNA) leader Mr. R. Sampanthan and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Mr. Rauf Hakeem were handed over to the officials at the Council.

Demonstrators ended the march when the officers at the Council promised to vacate the building.

The name board of the Council was removed by the demonstrators, sources said.


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