Troubles erupt over flag in Mannar town

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 November 2004, 10:35 GMT]
Mannar town was tense Wednesday afternoon amidst a stand off between Sri Lankan security forces and hundreds of civilians over the removal of a Thamil Eelam national flag hoisted at a sports festival to mark 'Great Heroes' Week. Crowds burnt tires in the town and demanded that the flag be handed back to organisers of the sports festival on the Mannar general play ground. Trouble erupted after some Sri Lanka army soldiers removed and took away the flag, Mannar Police said. Sri Lanka army deployed more troops and armoured vehicles in Mannar town following the fracas.

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An attempt by the military to return the flag failed to defuse the situation as the crowds demanded that the SLA should send an officer to explain.

"The mischief was premeditated by the Sri Lanka army. They sent additional troops to the play ground area in the morning, hours before the festival started", said one of the organisers of the sports event.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka monitoring Mission (SLMM) called an emergency meeting to resolve the stand off peacefully.

Mannar Bishop Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, Tamil National Alliance MPs for Vanni, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan and Mr. Vino Noharathalingam, LTTE political division head for Mannar, Mr. S. Iniyavan and representatives of Sri Lankan armed forces were engaged in discussions Wednesday afternoon at the SLMM office on how to amicably defuse the tension in the town.

Mannar tenseMannar tense


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