JVP protesters march in thousands against Co-Chairs, Norway
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 October 2006, 21:55 GMT]
Thousands of Sinahala nationalist protesters marched against Co-Chairs involvement and Norwegian facilitation in the Sri Lankan peace process Wednesday evening in Colombo. The Sinhala nationalist party, the JVP, launched the protest campaign under a coalition named "Joint Front for Protection of Nation" that comprised 12 pro JVP trade unions, University Students Association and National Bhikku Front.
"White Tiger" effigy carried by the protestors was burned at the end of demonstration. Police blocked the protestors from entering Ward Place, where the Norwegian Embassy is located.
The protesters, who began the march from Borella Campbell Park at 4:00 p.m. reached close to the Lipton Square and demonstrated there till 7:00 p.m. chanting slogans against Co-Chairs and Norway.
Norway should leave the country itself or be expelled from Sri Lanka. The JVP branded the Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer as "White Tiger" in the demonstration carrying an effigy of Hanssen-Bauer.
The Joint Front for Protection of Nation (JFPN) carried placards stating "Do Not Surrender Before Co-Chairs, Defeat Separatist Terrorism Decisively, No to foreign mediators including Norway, Let Sri Lanka solve its national question," and "Hands Off Sri Lanka."
The protesters who attempted to proceed towards Ward Place where the Norwegian Embassy is located, had to burn the effigy at Lipton Square.
The Police and Special Task Force personnel were deployed blocking the protesters near Lipton Square.
Security was beefed up in the area surrounding the Norwegian Embassy. Police blocked all the roads towards the Norwegian Embassy.
Amarasinghe Somawanse, the JVP leader and the General Secretary of the party, Tilvin Silva led the protesters.
Earlier, in a press conference held Wednesday morning, Tilvin Silva announced that the party was withdrawing from talks with the Rajapakse Government as there was no agreement on three basic demands of the 20 demands.
The JVP held the press conference Wednesday to announce the outcome of the two rounds of talks held between the SLFP and JVP on Monday and Tuesday at the Temple Trees residence of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse who participated in the talks, sources said.
The twenty demands included the cancellation of the ceasefire agreement, withdrawal of the Norwegian facilitation for the peace process and to reduce the members of the Cabinet to thirty.
The party would launch a massive campaign against Rajapakse if he failed to deliver on the promises he made to the people in the elections as outlined in Mahinda Thinking, according to the JVP general secretary.
Tilvin Silva added the JVP will not block the peace process but the government should take into consideration the pledges given to the masses during the presidential election.
The SLFP, having 57 seats in the Sri Lankan parliament, is the main constituent of the ruling UPFA government.
JVP holds 39 seats in the 225-seat assembly.
National Bhikkhu Front, a Sinhala nationalist organisation of monks with branches in all the Sinhala majority districts of the island, is a close ally of the JVP.
JVP leader Somawanse Amarasignhe leading the protest march