Colombo students demonstrate
[TamilNet, Friday, 30 July 1999, 12:11 GMT]
Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala students of the Art faculty of Colombo University have been jointly staging a demonstration in front of their faculty today, demanding the Sri Lankan government take steps to hold GCE examinations in the Vanni, when schools elsewhere sit for papers.
The students have been demonstrating from morning till noon.
Students say this is the first demonstration by University students outside the Tamil areas of the island on this issue.
Last week students in Jaffna University demonstrated, demanding that the Sri Lankan government open an access route into the Vanni.
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops and Police blocked the marchers at Parameswara college junction.
The SLA closed the access route into the Vanni on June 26 amidst heavy fighting in the area. The SLA and the LTTE have not been able to reach an agreement on the location of another access route.
The LTTE wants the original crossing point in Western Vanni reopened, whilst the SLA wants to establish a new crossing point at Mankulam on the A9 highway.
The LTTE says Mankulam is of military and strategic importance and the SLA is attempting to pressure it to dismantle its defences ahead of a possible offensive.
The SLA says the LTTE is not cooperating in opening an access route to the Vanni.