Student protests escalate in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Thursday, 08 December 2005, 18:30 GMT]
University students protest at Kaladdy in Jaffna turned violent when
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers fired at the air and tried to
disperse the protestors. The
Scandinavian ceasefire monitors who tried to calm the situation
had to withdraw from the site at 12:30 p.m. as they were unable to
persuade SLA commanders and student leaders to come to an understanding
to defuse the situation, sources said.
SLMM officials in dialogue with students and soldiers at the site
SLMM officials in dialogue with students at the protest site Thursday morning
The students protested in support of the demands put
forward by the Hartley College and Methodist Girls College students, Point Pedro,
against the expansion of Sri Lankan checkposts close to the
colleges premises. The protests which spread to other parts of
Jaffna district shut down the educational institutions. Student leaders on
Thursday vowed to expand the protests in Jaffna and set-up road block
at Kaladdy Junction.
More than 300 troopers were rushed to Kaladdy area in an attempt to
quell the protest. The soldiers confronted the students
attacking them with gun butts and by firing tear gas. Finally the
soldiers started firing in the air.
Ceasefire monitors who rushed to the site tried to calm down the
student leaders but left as SLA rejected students' demand to
remove the commandos who attacked the protesters from the site.
Student leaders protested to SLMM officials stating that they were
being targeted and blocked from exercising their right to protest
against the Government of Sri Lanka and the "occupying" forces. They
demanded that the soldiers who blocked their non-violent with viloent
response, should leave the scene to bring normalcy in the area.
Tension further escalated when SLMM left the site
as the troopers began to beat civilians and blocked all traffic along
the Palaly Road and its byroutes between Thirunelveli Junction and
Kantharmadam Junction. One kilometer long strip of the Palay
road remained completely blocked for civilian access causing more
than hundred family members in the area unable to reach their homes.
Vehicular traffic took circuitous routes to avoid blocked roads.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. Hans Brattskar,
who visited Jaffna Thursday held discussions with the Government
Agent of Jaffna Mr. K. Ganesh, SLMM officials and the Sri Lankan
military officials at Palaly military complex. He left for Vanni via
A9 route. He was not provided SLAF helicopter as he was not visiting
Jaffna and Vanni as a facilitator to the peace process, but as an
Ambassador to Sri Lanka, according to military sources in Jaffna.
The Norwegian Ambassador said that the Norwegian goverment and
the scandinavian monitors were doing whatever they can to bring
normalcy in the NorthEast, sources in the Government Secretariat in