VVT residents picket against new army camp

[TamilNet, Monday, 02 June 2003, 09:06 GMT]
Hundreds of students and residents of Valvettithurai in the north of Jaffna district Monday held a picketing campaign for about an hour opposing the establishment of a new camp of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in the Chithamabara College grounds. All vehicular movement on Valvettithurai-Keerimalai main road came to a standstill due to picketing, sources said.

Picketers sat across the road blocking the main entrance of the newly set up SLA camp amid more deployment of army and police personnel at the scene.

VVT picketing.Tamil National Alliance Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam also participated in the picketing, the sources said

Government offices, schools and shops in the area were closed down during the picketing, the sources said.

The SLA officials present at the scene announced through loudhailers that no one should enter the land earmarked for the new camp.

Police riot squads were also deployed in the area, sources said.

The officer in charge of the Valvettithurai Police told picketers to hold the protest without creating any disturbances. However Colonel B.Ratnayake of the 124 Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army located at Valvettithurai entered into heated argument with the TNA parliamentarian Mr.Sivajilingam when the latter challenged the SLA to take legal action against the picketers for their action. Colonel Ratnayake said the new camp is being established in state land and he could take legal action against the picketers, sources said.

VVT picketing.

The army soldiers stopped media persons from taking photographs when the parliamentarian Mr.Sivajilingam and the army official wereengaged in heated argument, sources said.

SLA camp at Chidambara College.
Sri Lanka Army soldiers are seen cleaing the land and constructing a new camp on Chidambara College grounds.

VVT picket
A military trained Policeman deployed at the protest venue

VVT picket
school children and parents marching in protest through the coastal town

VVT picket
TNA MP Mr. M. K Sivajilingam among the protestors seated across the main coastal road inVVT


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