Thousands at May Day rallies in Northeastern province

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 May 2002, 19:05 GMT]
More than ten thousand people took part in the May Day rally in Kumarapuram in southern Trincomalee Wednesday afternoon. Thousands also gathered for May Day rallies in Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna. Mr. Karikalan hoisted the flag of the Liberation Tigers at the rally of more than fifteen thousand in Palugamam, 30 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa.

Mr. Kalandar Lebbai, the president of the TradersÇ Association of Kattankudy, the largest Muslim town on the east coast, Tamil National Alliance MPs for Batticaloa, the president of the Eastern University TeachersÇ Union and LTTE officials addressed the rally.

Crowds from all parts of the Batticaloa district, including the Kathiraveli and Vaakarai, about 100 kilometres north of Palugamam came for the rally Wednesday afternoon, sources said.

More than 200 auto-rickshaws and scores of floats joined the large procession which marched from Batticaloa to Palugamam through the Paddiruppu Bridge entry point. The President of the Batticaloa district auto-rickshaw union was beaten up by the Special Task Force commandos who man the entry point as the crowds surged through the bridge.

A parade by troops from the Visalakan, Madana and Vinothan units of the LTTEÇs armed forces in the east was held at the commencement of the rally on the grounds of the Palugamam Kandumani School.

In Trincomalee south large processions from Mallikaithivu, Kankuveli, 58th Milepost and LB 3 marched to Kumarapuram for the rally. The Sri Lanka army massacred 24 civilians, including 2 infants, 3 children under 10 and 12 women, on 11 February 1996 in Kumarapuram. Two teenage girls were gang raped and killed by the soldiers. None of the perpetrators have been brought to book.

Meanwhile, in Jaffna, Tamil National Alliance MPs Mr. Mavai Senathirajah and Mr. M. K Sivajilingam spoke at the May Day rally at the grounds of the Jaffna University's Fine Arts campus in Maruthanamadam Wednesday afternoon. The rally was organised by local trade unions and the Jaffna NGO consortium, sources said. The head of the LTTE's political division for Jaffna, Mr. Ilamparithi and several trade union officials also spoke at the rally.



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