New Zealand Tamils appeal

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 October 1998, 23:04 GMT]
New Zealand's Tamil community appealed Sunday to the Commonwealth Parliamentarians Conference over the alleged mass graves of civilians killed by Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna, said the organisers of the event in a press release issued yesterday.

An estimated 75 Tamil people gathered outside the conference venue, the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, holding placards and distributing leaflets said the press release issued by the Canterbury Tamil Society, the Wellington Tamil Society, and the New Zealand Tamil Society.

"The appeal was watched by all delegates while they were being welcomed by traditional Maori welcome outside the [centre]", said the press release.

The organisers handed over a "12 page comprehensive delegate document" to participants of the conference and to the media, said the press release. Delegates had paused to read the placards and taken photographs and some had videotaped the gathering, it added.

According to the press release, one Sri Lankan government diplomat "who was quite upset to see all the Tamils" had accused the demonstrators of being "terrorists".

The press release said that the day before, a letter appealing over the Chemmani graves addressed to the Commonwealth Secretary General had been handed over to his Head of Staff , Stewart Mole, at a New Zealand Commonwealth Trust Luncheon.

About 20 Sinhalese people had organised a counter-demonstration beside the Tamils said the press release.


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