Sri Lankan minister protests against Tamil rally in London

Friday, December 3, 2010

COLOMBO - A Sri Lanakan minister and his supporters demonstrated Friday outside the British High Commission in Colombo against a London protest rally which led to the cancellation of a public appearance by President Mahinda Rajapaska.

Minister of Construction Wimal Weerawasna, who leads the National Freedom Front party, said the British government had failed to prevent demonstrations against Rajapaksa in London, bringing disrepute to the president and to the country.

Rajapaksa was due to address the Oxford Union Thursday, but the organisers cancelled the event due to protests by Tamil minority groups.

Tamil groups have been protesting over alleged human rights abuses during the final stages of the military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels who were defeated in May 2009.

“The British government has given a free hand for pro-LTTE demonstrators, despite the organisation being banned in the United Kingdom,” Weerawasna said.

The minister and his supporters chanted anti-British slogans and displayed posters saying “Britain - Go to Hell”, or “Do not support Terrorism”, and “Hands off Sri Lanka.”

Rajapaksa was to return to Sri Lanka later Friday.

The government has accused an opposition United National Party parliamentarian of travelling to London to organise the protests.

Jayalath Jayawardena, who denied the allegations, narrowly escaped physical assault in parliament Thursday by ruling party ministers and lawmakers.

Filed under: Politics

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