2ND LEAD (Adds photos)

U.S. rally exposing Colombo's genocide draws 7000

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 February 2009, 04:17 GMT]
Nearly seven thousand U.S. and Canadian Tamils filled the Ellipse at the southern perimeter to the White House, as a show of solidarity with the more than 250,000 Tamil civilians undergoing daily aerial bombardment and artillery attacks herded within a 100 sq.mile area in Vanni. The rally, organized jointly by the US-based activist group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) and several local organizations, drew a record crowd, dewarfing the "hurriedly arranged" counter-rally organized by supporters of Colombo, an AFP report said.

US State Department officials receiving memorandum
US State Department officials receiving memorandum
A memorandum submitted to the State Department South Asia official, Diane Kelly, included the following demands, according to one of the main organizers of the rally, Dr Jeyarajah:
  • Publicly condemn the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government.
  • Ask the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to allow unfettered access for international humanitarian aid agencies and journalists into the conflict zone.
  • Exert political, economic or other pressure on Sri Lanka for an immediate ceasefire.
  • Use your goodwill with Sri Lanka’s neighbors to exert pressure on Sri Lanka, and, together with the co-chairs bring about an immediate ceasefire.
  • Help find a political solution where the Tamil people living in Sri Lanka and exiled in other countries are allowed to determine the terms of coexistence with the Sinhalese state based on the universally accepted principle of self-determination.

Dr Elyn Shander, a psychiatrist who did volunteer work in Vanni after the tsunami, Bruce Fein, counsel for TAG and former US Assistant Deputy Attorney General, and Mr Sittampalam, former President of Canada's refugee assistance group, spoke at the end of the rally.

Protesters in front of the State Department
Protesters in front of the State Department
Section of the rally participants
Section of the rally participants


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