'Allow us to speak': French Tamil diaspora demonstrates

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 October 2008, 01:45 GMT]
Allow us to speak. We are not terrorists. What is happening in Sri Lanka is genocide: These were the voices of the thousands of Eezham Tamil demonstrators who braved defying a government ban and gathered in Paris on Sunday. Reflecting on his experience, Mr Somasundaram Sarveswaran, a participant said what is abominable that goes against all norms of civilization is silencing the civilian voice. "The Tamil national cause and the struggle against genocide of a people are not terrorist issues. There is a tendency today to look at everything related to Tamil as terrorism. This is why we earnestly look upon the leaders of Tamil Nadu to secure us our righteous global space as a priority, by recognizing the Tamil right to self-determination in the Island of Sri Lanka," he said.

Gendarmerie: The French Military charged with police duties was deployed at the venue


Mr. Sarveswaran made all his way, 400 km from Lyon to Paris, with his wife and two children to take part in the demonstration, without knowing that the French Police had declined permission to the demonstration.

He further said, France, which has nearly 100,000 Tamils who respect the country's law, was silent against the killings of Eezham Tamils in their homeland. The French government was ignoring the investigation of 17 Tamil speaking humanitarian workers of the French NGO Action Contre La Faim (ACF), who were allegedly massacred by the Sri Lankan forces in Moothoor in Trincomalee.

A parade was supposed to go on from Place de la Republic to Place de la Bastille Sunday the 19th of October from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This was organized by a member of the French political party Nouveau Centre in which several Tamils are active members. But in the last minute the French Police refused permission for the parade for reasons unknown.

The participants were waiting for this day to speak out to the French government, which holds the current Presidency of the European Union, about the ongoing genocide in Sri Lanka against the Tamil people: aerial bombings, artillery attacks against the civilians and widespread human rights abuses against Tamils all over the island of Sri Lanka.

The refusal turned into deep frustration and anger that demonstrators decided to get to the streets, against being treated as 'terrorists' and demanded for their right to express. Thousands gathered at Place de la Bastille , a symbolic premises of France, where the French revolution started.

People displayed placards written 'We are not Terrorists ', 'Give us the right of expression', and 'There is a genocide going on against our Families in Sri Lanka.' The riot police cordoned off and blocked the demonstrators from moving. Everyone sat down and started shouting slogans.

"There was another demonstration of a French trade union of teachers going on in the same venue at that time. Seeing our plight, they joined us shouting at the French police and even provided space for a representative of us to speak on their stage," he said.

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Gendarmerie: The French Military charged with police duties was deployed at the venue
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