Thousands at Jaffna peace rally

[TamilNet, Friday, 31 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The peace rally in the Jaffna town organised by the Jaffna Diocese Committee for Peace and Justice which began around 4.30 p.m. today drew more than seven thousand people. Sources said this was unprecedented since the SLA moved in two years ago.

Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Sauvundranayagam addressed the gathering at St. Mary's church later in the evening today.

The following are excerpts from his speech (in Tamil) this evening.

"We only asked for our rights. We did not seek electricity, buses and telephones. The government should respect human lives. "

"Everyday in the Vanni at least forty children faint in schools due to starvation. We cannot allow this war to go on. More than fifty thousand people have died. "

"Peace need not come from us. It is up to the government to put forward a constructive plan for peace. We are dying slowly in our struggle for equality."

"Therefore it is the government that should provide the medicine. It should not sell the country for selfish profit."

"The people should be a bridge for peace"

The bishop's address was followed by a drama. TamilNet's Jaffna correspondent who covered the rally this evening said that the drama was critical of US involvement in the war in Sri Lanka.

He said the Bishop's statement that the government should not sell the country for selfish profit was seen by those present as a veiled reference to the US government's current relationship with the Sri Lankan government.


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