Trouble flares at Batticaloa protest

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 October 2000, 13:30 GMT]
There were clashes with Sri Lankan security forces Tuesday as undergraduates, lecturers and non-academic staff of the East University went on a picketing campaign blocking all traffic between Batticaloa and Valaichchenai main road condemning the massacre of Tamil detainees at Bandarawela-Bindunuwewa rehabilitation center on October 25 and demanding the immediate release of Mr.P.Chandrasekaram Parliamentarian and the Leader of the Upcountry People's Front who is now in police custody in Colombo.

The trade unions of the East University organized this picketing campaign which commenced around 11 in the morning and ended two hours later. The protestors shouted slogans and carried placards condemning the killing of Tamil detainees and Jaffna journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan.

Soon after the start of the picketing, Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and police personnel rushed to scene and ordered the picketers to disperse. The security personnel abused undergraduates and lecturers and even went to the extent of assaulting a student, Jeyabalan (ed: one name only) who was in the forefront in organizing the campaign, a human rights activist at the scene said.

Meanwhile schools in Batticaloa town and its suburbs were closed for a second day-Tuesday as students are boycotting classes also demanding release of Mr.Chandrasekaram.

Meawnhile, angry protestors placed burning tires on the roads near Batticaloa town. Children were turned back from schools by some of them.

In the meantime, about fifty Tamil traders and employees working in their business establishments were summoned to the Special Task Force (STF) camp at Karaitivu in the Ampara district Tuesday morning around 9, following the successful hartal held Monday at Kalmunai town. The STF personnel inquired from the traders who organized the hartal. Around noon all traders and employees were allowed to go, according to the TamilNet correspondent there.


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