'LTTE is close to Tamil hearts'- UNF MP
[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 15:41 GMT]
(Photos) "The Tamil people of the north and east have accepted in their hearts the leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Velupillai Pirapaharan, as their sole leader. The elections to the Parliament established that the Liberation Tigers are the sole representatives of the Tamil people," said Mr. M. A. M Mahroof, United National Party MP for Trincomalee, addressing a peace rally in the eastern port town Sunday. About ten thousand people from all walks of life thronged Trincomalee Sunday morning for the peace march and the rally. Many marchers carried large photographs of Mr. Pirapaharan.
The march was led by Mr. R. Sampanthan, the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance and MP for Trincomalee.
Speaking at the rally Mr. Sampnathan said, "It was the leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Pirapaharan, who made the Sinhala parties and the whole world accept that there should be a just an honourable solution to the Tamil national question. In the past Sinhala governments suppressed the non-violent agitations by Tamil parties for their peopleís rights. But it was Mr. Pirapaharanís armed struggle that made the Sinhala parties realise that the Tamil nation cannot be oppressed and intimidated."
The marchers shouted slogans demanding the lifting of the ban on the LTTE and to remove all restrictions on fishing. Students shouted the slogan "Tamil is our life."
The rally reiterated the Tamils' right of self-determination and the Tamil homeland.
Processions from the three corners of the Trincomalee town, Uppuveli third milepost, Ghandinagar and from Sivankoviladi converged at Madathady junction, the gateway of Trincomalee town around nine in the morning. The march then led by Mr. Sampanthan wound its way through the heart of the town along Central road, Sea View road, Northcoast road and the Dockyard road to the venue grounds.
The peace march was organized by the non-governmental organizations in the Trincomalee district along with studentsí unions, teachers' unions, trade unions, farmers' and fishermen's societies and the Tamil National Alliance.
The police had tight security to the peace march.
(Please click on the images for larger photos)