London vigil over Kalutara massacre
[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
About 400 Tamil people staged a vigil opposite the British Prime Minister's residence today, to protest over the massacre of Tamil political detainees in Kalutara prison on December 12. The vigil was organised by the Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR).
The protesters gathered opposite Downing Street today, behind a large banner which read 'Release Tamil political prisoners from Sri Lankan jails'. The crowd held placards denouncing the massacre and calling for its condemnation.
The vigil was staged from 4pm to 7pm, coinciding with the London rush hour. Much of the event took place after dark, illuminated by street lights and the headlights of the hundreds of vehicles which go through Whitehall at this time every day.
A letter was handed over to British officials at the Prime Minister's residence by a group of four women and two men, copies of which were made available to the press. The letter called for a condemnation of the massacre and asked support for an international investigation.
The letter also asked the British government to impress on the Sri Lankan government to halt the killings of Tamil political detainees.
Ms. Mann of the TCHR told TamilNet that her organisation was pleased with the response to the vigil, as it had been called in a short period of time. The police had to extend the protective barricade to cater for the larger than expected crowd, she said.
Considerable interest was generated amongst the tourists visiting the Whitehall area, as well as the large numbers of people traveling home through the area, said organisers.