Norwegian Tamils hold May Day in major cities of Norway

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 May 2004, 14:50 GMT]
About two thousand Tamils in Oslo gathered on saturday in their biggest May Day gathering in Oslo ever, carrying Tamil Eelam national flags and banners urging the international community to recognize the Tamil people's right to self-determination. Hundreds of Tamils in other major cities like Bergen and Stavanger also gathered for May Day, sources in Oslo said.

May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
May Day parade in Oslo, 2004

The parade had some resemblance to the Pongu Thamil events (Tamil upsurge), with traditional Kavadi dance and music.

The Tamil Eelam national flag, placards displaying photos of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader, Mr. V. Pirapaharan, and placards with slogans "LTTE is the one and only representative of the Tamils" and "Recognize Tamils’ right to self-determination" were carried by the participants in the parade, which started at Youngstorget in downtown Oslo and encircled through Karl Johans gt. and the Stortinget (Norwegian parliament) and ended around 14.00 p.m.

May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
Mr. Yogarajah Balasingham, member of Oslo Municipal Council
"This is the longest parade of all immigrant communities here in Oslo. The participation of more than 2000 Tamils in Oslo expresses the unity and the political awareness of the Tamil community here," said Mr. Yogarajah Balasingham (Baskaran), the candidate elected to the Oslo Municipal council on Arbeider Parti (Labour Party) ticket last September.

"I also see this as an opportunity to express ourselves as immigrant workers and to organize around issues of vital importance to the immigrant working-class people,” said Mr. Balasingham.

May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
Mrs. P. Naventhirarajah, a participant in Oslo May Day Rally
"We must recognize and commemorate May Day not only for its historical significance, but also as a time to express our solidarity with our brethren in our traditional homeland by giving expression to the situation of the poorest of the poor on the ground," said Mrs. P. Naventhirarjah, a participant in the May Day rally.


May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
Mr. K. Vijayakumar, a participant in Oslo May Day Rally
""I have been to the homeland and am really disappointed to see the conditions of the Internally Displaced people in the North East. It is also disappointing to see the haste in returning rejected asylum seekers back to the North-East, which is one of the largest internally displaced community in the world today," said Mr. K. Vijayaraja, another participant in the rally.

"Though our struggle has received international attention due to the peace process facilitated by Norway for which we are thankful, we feel that the situation on the ground for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is yet to improve, and this is really worrying" he said.

"We, the expatriate Tamils are convinced that it is only an interim administration properly administered by Tamils, as outlined in the ISGA proposals by the LTTE and which has received an overwhelming mandate in the last elections held in the North East, can safeguard the rights of the Tamil people." said Mr. S. Roopan, press contact of the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) that organized the event in major cities of Norway.

May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
Mr. Kalaikkon, Director of LTTE's Navam Acadamy giving a speech in May Day 2004 in Oslo
The parade concluded with the speech of Mr. Kalaikkon master, Director of the LTTE's Navam Acadamy, who was on an European visit from the homeland.

A new issue of the bi-annual Norwegian magazine titled Notam was also distributed in the May Day parade.

Meanwhile, in the western city of Bergen, more than one hundred Tamils took part in the May Day rally, sources said. Bergen is the second largest town in Norway, and about 400 Tamil families live in the town and its suburbs, the sources said.

Similar parades were also organized in other major cities Trondheim and Stavanger, sources said.

The May Day rally and procession in Norwegian cities was organized by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) which has over 800,000 members. Various other international solidarity organizations also took part in the procession.

May Day 2004 in Oslo, Norway
May Day parade in Oslo, 2004.

May Day 2004 in Bergen, Norway
May Day parade 2004 in Bergen, Norway.

May Day 2004 in Bergen, Norway
May Day parade in Bergen, 2004.
May Day 2004 in Bergen, Norway
May Day parade in Bergen, 2004.
May Day Parade Stavanger
May Day Parade in Stavanger, 2004.
May Day 2004 in Trondheim, Norway
May Day parade in Trondheim, 2004.


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