Sydney protest draws more than 5,000

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 March 2009, 11:30 GMT]
More than 5,000 protesters took to the streets of Sydney Saturday demanding action against the Sri Lankan government and the atrocities being committed against Tamil civilians caught up in the war in the Vanni. Sydney's Central Business District suffered traffic congestion and delays as demonstrators took over major city roads as the protesters marched towards the city's Town Hall, participants in the rally said.

Australian Tamils rally in Sydney
Australian Tamils rally in Sydney
Australian Tamils rally in Sydney
Many protesters carrying placards of the Eelam flag and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader V. Pirapaharan, called out for the de-scription of the LTTE and for the Australian government to help end the genocide in Sri Lanka.

Members of the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) which organised the event said they were pleasantly surprised at the show of solidarity.

TYO representative Jay Nathan spoke to the crowd, describing the stark differences between life in Australia and life in Sri Lanka.

"I see my fellow Tamils living in Sri Lanka and I am overcome with sorrow to see that they are denied even a fraction of the rights and luxuries that I enjoy here in Australia," Ms Nathan said. "They live their lives in fear of persecution, abduction and death because of who they are."

Adrian Francis, another TYO representative, said: "To me it is beyond doubt that the agenda of the government of Sri Lanka is to reduce and marginalize the Tamil population. These are our brothers, these are our sisters, mothers, fathers, everything - all lost, lost lives, lost dreams.

"The thousands of protesters, many of whom have lost faith in the international monitors who have repeatedly failed to hold the Sri Lankan government to account for the thousands of civilians left dead, and the many thousands more injured without access to decent medical aid, demand the immediate action to stop any more lives being lost," Francis added.

Australian Tamils rally in Sydney
Australian Tamils rally in Sydney
Australian Tamils rally in Sydney


Australian Tamils rally in Sydney


"We feel that organisations such as the UN need to do more to stop the bloodshed in Sri Lanka immediately. The parrallel between what is happening in Sri Lanka and what happened to the Jewish people in Germany is uncanny, yet the world sits silently. You would think the international community would have learnt from the horrific lessons of the past," Francis said.

"What the world doesn't realise is that once you are forced into a corner with no way out, one can only fight for one's life, one's freedom. That is exactly what is happening to the Tamil people. Yet the world conveniently calls this terrorism." said another protester.

 

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