Protesters in Jaffna burn effigies, condemn Manipay attack
[TamilNet, Friday, 14 February 2003, 17:24 GMT]
Protest demonstrations were held Friday condemning the attack on LTTE women cadres, members of public and journalists at Manipay by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), aided by members of the paramilitary Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP). Effigies of President Chandrika Kumaratunge and the Jaffna area commander of the SLA, Major General Sarath Fonseka, were taken in processions and burnt down in Jaffna town, Udupiddy junction, Malisanthai junction and Methaikadai junction, sources said.
Thousands of people participated in the demonstration that took place in Jaffna town Friday morning. The demonstration, which commenced in the morning from the Jaffna public library site, concluded at the office of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) at Temple Road, Nallur, sources said.
The Consortium of Jaffna District Public Organizations, which organized the protest march, handed over a memorandum to the head of the SLMM in Jaffna, sources said.
The memorandum states:
"We vehemently condemn the brutal attack on LTTE women cadres by soldiers of the SLA and members of the EPDP. During the one-year period since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the government and the LTTE, the State armed forces have violated the ceasefire several times. We have brought such instances to your notice.
"The violations have increased because the SLMM has not taken any stern steps against violators. The Sri Lankan navy should take responsibility for the incident that took place in the Delft Sea. The tragedy could have been avoided if the SLMM had taken a neutral stand. The SLMM should take prompt steps to hold an impartial inquiry and punish those who are responsible for the Manipay incident.
"Our desire is peace. But the government troops prefer war. The government troops support elements that are against peace. We cannot allow such activities of the government troops.
"The lives and property of Tamils will be in danger if the government troops continue to be in northeast. This would cause hardships to take forward the peace process also.
"Hence we request that the government troops should vacate the Jaffna peninsula for normalcy to return in the lives of our people and to take forward the peace talks successfully.
"We hope the SLMM in future will discharge its duties by taking a neutral stand on this issue."