Rajapakse's Independence address avoids Geneva talks, Norway facilitation

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 February 2006, 16:24 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse, in his address at Galle Face on Sri Lanka's 58th Independence Day on Saturday, avoided mentioning Norwegian peace efforts and the critical talks in Geneva on strengthening implementation of Cease Fire Agreement. The Sri Lankan President, who promised "honorable peace" to the people of Northeast at his address, said the independence achieved 58 years ago from the British, was at stake. Meanwhile, districts of NorthEast observed widespread shutdown.

Rajapakse's speech focused on the role and participation of all communities in Sri Lanka in securing independence from the Colonial British rulers in 1948.

Avoiding war rhetoric, Rajapakse said that the recent Presidential Election was a "step forward taken with a view to extricate the country out of the present predicament and to safeguard and protect the national freedom."

Colombo on Sri Lankan Independence Day, February 04, 2006
Sri Lankan's President Mahinda Rajapakse with the Commanders of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces
The Sri Lankan Government's Independent day celebrations were held at Galle Face after 28 years. For the first time since 1957, students from one school per province, representing all 9 provinces, took part in a march at Galle Face.

Security was tightened in and around Colombo. Main roads between Galle Face and Collpety, Duplication Road and York street remaind closed between 8:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

Students from a Muslim school from Kinniya and a Sinhala school, Bandaranaike Vidyalayam, were the schools that represented NorthEast in the student's march.

Tamils observed a "silent shut down" throughout the Northeast.

Almost all shops remained closed in Jaffna. Roads were deserted.

Sri Lankan troopers did not enforce hoisting Sri Lankan flags in public places, but flags were seen in some of their camps.

Colombo on Sri Lankan Independence Day, February 04, 2006
RM-70 122 mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (range exceeds 20 km)
Hartal in Mannar
Bazaar street, Mannar
Colombo on Sri Lankan Independence Day, February 04, 2006
A battered T-55 Main Battle Tank (Russian) on the Sri Lankan Independence day showdown
Hartal in Mannar
Grand bus stand, Mannar


Tamil residents in the districts of Trincomalee and Mannar observed a general shut down on the Independence Day to protest against the harassment by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

Sri Lankan flags were hoisted in Government Secretariats in Sri Lanka Army controlled areas of the Northeast.

In Amparai, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, Sri Lankan Minister of Housing and Construction hoisted Sri Lankan flag at the ceremony held in Amparai Police grounds. Amparai District Government Agent, Herath Abeyaweera was present.

In Batticaloa, Maj. Gen. (ret.) K. M. S. Kularatne, Batticaloa District Manpower Director hoisted the Sri Lankan flag in the Government Agent's District Secretariat. Batticaloa GA was not present at the event.

 

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