Black bands in Batticaloa University for ceasefire, self-determination

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 January 2001, 15:03 GMT]
Students and teachers of the Eastern University in Batticaloa wore black bands on their arms and observed five minutes of silence at 12 noon Thursday to urge the Sri Lankan government to recognize the Tamil people's right of self determination and to reciprocate the extended unilateral ceasefire declared by the Liberation Tigers.

The Sri Lanka army in Batticaloa has repeatedly warned the public and civil society groups in this east coast district that it is a serious offence to hold meetings, picketing, demonstrations and marches calling on the government to take steps to expedite the peace process for ending the islandĂs ethnic conflict.

batti-univ_demo_1_250101.jpg
Photo: "What should students take up? The pen or the gun? The decision is in your hands" reads a banner in Tamil addressing the Sri Lankan state held by a group of Batticaloa university students during the black band campaign on the eastern campus Thursday.
All the students, teachers and other staff of the University wore black bands as they attended classes and their routine work Thursday. At twelve noon, everyone in the university gathered on the grounds of the University campus and stood silent for five minutes.

"We would be compelled to start a bigger campaign if the government persists with its intransigence on the peace process and it stubborn opposition to a ceasefire" one of the student organizers of the black band protest said.

Posters in Sinhala, Tamil and English were put up inside the campus calling on the government to declare a ceasefire and start talks with the Liberation Tigers.

Civil society groups in Batticaloa, meanwhile, charged that the SLA and the Police are attempting to intimidate members of the public and civil society groups suspected of campaigning for peace by branding them as LTTE agents.

"This poses a threat to our safety and lives" one of them said.

batti-univ_demo_2_250101.jpg

 

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