Demonstration against Palali expansion

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 March 1999, 15:14 GMT]
Nearly 300 people demonstrated this afternoon in front of the market in Wellawatte, a suburb of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, protesting against the government's plans to expand the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base complex at Palaly in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The picket was organised by the New Left Front (NLF).

The demonstrators shouted slogans and carried placards written in Sinhala, Tamil and English.

nlf_demo_col_240399.jpgThey shouted "Is taking over Tamils land by the Army is the solution to the Tamils problem?", "Withdraw troops from Northeast", "Stop taking over of Tamils' lands", "Stop expansion of Army camp", "Valikamam north is our land, Allow us to live there peacefully" amongst others.

Dr. Wikramabahu Karunaratna, speaking at the demonstration, said the NLF would never accept the government's plans to settle Sinhalese in land owned by Tamils.

He said his party will continue to protest until the government drops the plan.

The secretary of the NLF, S. Senthilvel while speaking to the gathering said that the seizing of land from Tamils is nothing new and pointed out the recent expansion of Army camps in Linga Nagar in Trinomalee which also resulted in eviction of Tamils from the area.

He said his party will continue agitations along with other allied Sinhala organisations.

He also urged Tamil parties supporting the Government to withdraw their support.

A university student who took part in the picketing said there had been no similar demonstrations voicing support for the Tamils in the recent past.

"Therefore this picketing action will raise awareness among the Tamils living in this part[south of the island] about this," he added.


Related Articles:
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