SLA opens road following protest

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 August 2002, 14:59 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army opened the main road through Morakkoddanchenai, 26 kilometres north of Batticaloa, after twelve years following a sit in protest by villagers Monday. The protesting crowds surged ahead through soldiers when the SLA commander for Batticaloa, Lt. Col. V. R. L Anthoniz agreed to open an inner road as well.

The Batticaloa Valaichenai highway was blocked by SLA camps straddling the road at Mylambaveli, Kommathurai, Morakkoddanchenai and Valaichenai. Traffic was diverted through detours, which were bumpy, potholed dirt tracks until recently.

Morakkoddancheni road openedThe people of Morakoddanchenai began a protest following the Memorandum of Understanding between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government, demanding that the SLA should vacate the village school, public building and homes it has been occupying since 1990.

The SLA continues to occupy the village centre in Kommathurai and Valaichenai Junction, despite protests.

The sit in protest in Morakkoddanchenai began early in the morning around 6 a.m. Hundreds people blocked the main road ahead of the SLA camp in the village centre. The SLA's 23 Division Commander, Sunil Tennekoon, asked the villagers to call off the protest as the military had had discussions with the LTTE Sunday night and had reached an agreement to open the main road through the camp.

The protestors declined to disperse, demanding that the Station Road that leads up to Devapuram, an adjacent settlement, should also be opened. Soldiers told the villagers that they cannot open the road to the public but would consider allowing school children through.

The protestors refused to accept the army's position and continued the protest.

Later, the SLA's 23-3 Brigade commander, Lt. Col. Anthoniz and Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa, came to Morakoddanchenai and spoke to the protestors.

Around 10.30 a.m. when the villagers surged through the army barrier across Station Road along with the school children who were allowed to go. However, Lt. Col. Anthoniz said that only the people of Devapuram would be permitted to use the Station Road.

Morakkoddanchenai road opened

 

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