US Tamils protest against IMF loan to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 March 2009, 11:16 GMT]
Dozens of American Tamils on Friday staged a protest rally in front of the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, urging the IMF to deny funding to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's request for $1.8 billion in loans is under consideration by the IMF. Tamil community fears that the Sri Lankan government would use the funds to perpetuate Tamil genocide while entrenching mass displacement of Tamils confining them to institutionalized internment camps, organizers of the rally said.

Protesters carried pictures of the victims of cluster bombs and phosphorous incendiary bombs used by the Sri Lankan government forces against Tamil civilians and chanted, ”IMF: Stop the funding; Sri Lanka: Stop the killing”.

A leaked UN memo said that 2800 Tamil civilians were killed and over 7,000 injured in 5 weeeks since January 20th of this year. A placard carried in the rally said: “IMF- don’t lend blood money to help Sri Lanka’s Tamil Genocide.”

Elias Jeyarajah handing over memorandum to Jeremy Mark
Elias Jeyarajah handing over memorandum to Jeremy Mark
The Deputy Division Chief of the IMF’s external relations department, Mr. Jeremy Mark, received a memorandum prepared by Tamils Against Genocide. Mr. Mark listened to the protesters' concerns of the ongoing genocide in the NorthEast Sri Lanka, expressed his shared concerns for the conditions of Tamil civilians and assured that he will hand over the memorandum to the Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund for consideration.

The protesters then marched to the Department of State office and held a silent vigil for two hours. Appreciating the concern shown by Secretary of State they displayed placards that read, “Thank you Secretary Clinton for calling (Sri Lanka's President) Rajapaksa to hold the fire. Has he complied?”

The organizers said this is the third such rally within 5 weeks and they will continue the rallies at regular intervals until the US addresses the genocidal situation and bring about a ceasefire, relief to the civilians and peace talks leading to resolution of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

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