Thousands of Tamils rally outside UN

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 March 2002, 21:24 GMT]
Several thousand Tamils rallied Monday outside the United Nations building in Geneva to voice their support for the principle of Tamil self determination and the Liberation Tigers. The annual rally, which was preceded by a march, drew Tamils from across Europe. It was organised by the International Federation of Tamils. An estimated ten thousand people participated, the IFT said.

The march began at 2 p.m. from Geneva's Central Railway Station. Slogans shouted by the protestors in Tamil, English, French and German demanding the Tamil people's rights could be heard through traditional Tamil music.

The slogans called on the international community to actively support the Norwegian peace initiative in Sri Lanka as well as the aspirations of the Tamil people: "nationhood, homeland and the right of self-determination." Amongst the placards, the marchers carried a large cut-out of LTTE leader, Mr. Vellupillai Prabaharan.

The rally commenced with the hoisting of the Tamil Eelam flag at 3.30 p.m. outside the UN building where the 58th sessions of the Human Rights Commission were ongoing.

Representatives of non-governmental organisations and politicians who addressed the crowds in Tamil and English, supported the peace initiatives of Norway and called for the recognition of the just aspirations of the Tamils. They condemned all those opposed to the Norwegian peace-initiative and called on the Sri Lankan government to lift the ban on the LTTE, recognise the movement as the sole representatives of the Tamil people and to negotiate a political settlement.

The event closed with the crowd singing the Tamil national anthem.

A proclamation endorse by the assembled participants called on the Sri Lankan government to: "Lift the ban on the LTTE and recognise them as the sole and authentic representative of the Tamil people; recognise the right of the Tamils for their Homeland, their nationhood and their right of self-determination."

It also said the Tamil people wanted Sri Lanka to "lift the embargo on all food and medicine, on fishing and on transport in order to bring normalcy of life in the Tamil Homeland; abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act and release all Tamil political prisoners."

The proclamation also request European countries, the United States and Canada not to repatriate Tamil refugees back to Sri Lanka until there is a peaceful resolution of the conflict.



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