3RD LEAD (Adds details, text of speech)

Largest UN, New York rally fills Times Square

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 April 2009, 11:04 GMT]
In one of the largest rallies held by the American Tamils in New York, more than 5000 protesters from different parts of the United States and Canada converged in New York in the park on 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues near the UN, and a smaller group in the permitted area 43rd Street park directly across from the Secretariat Building between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Friday, and urged the UN to take urgent steps to stop the carnage unfolding in the coastal villages of Mullaiththeevu where the Government of Sri Lanka is slaughtering hundreds of Tamil civilians daily under the pretext of cornering the LTTE leadership. The protesters then marched westward to the Times Square, one mile from the UN, and continued the protest until 5:00 p.m., according to the organizers.

Ellyn Shandler, a physician who worked in Vanni during post-tsunami recovery period, Rudrakumaran, legal advisor, and several others spoke at the rally.

Matthew Lee of Inner City Press talking to protesters
Matthew Lee of Inner City Press
Ellyn Shandler, speaking at the rally
Ellyn Shandler, speaking at the rally
Mathew Lee, the UN correspondent to the local non-profit, Inner City Press, who has been covering the UN activity related to Sri Lanka, and providing Tamil readers a rare insight into the inner-working and politics behind UN actions, witnessed the rally and spoke to several protesters.

Organizers brought own generators and high power audio systems to facilitate speeches to be heard by the protesters who stood along three long blocks along the 7th avenue. New York metropolitan Police assisted by more than 100 marshalls from the Tamil diaspora maintained smooth crowd control throughout the afternoon, according to participants.

Police had marked a full traffic lane and two thirds of the sidewalk along the three blocks for the protesters. Speeches were given from a well equipped flat-bed truck the organizers have brought to support the rally.

A press desk manned by several volunteers and an 60" LCD TV next to the desk repeated played videos on the ground situation, organizers said.

"UN has told diplomats in Colombo that the civilian death count in North Sri Lanka since January 20 has risen from 2683 to 4500, in New York UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq on Friday declined to confirm the UN's figures or their release," Innercity press said. More than 10,000 have been injured during the same period according to estimates from Vanni health officials.

New York rally
Inscription: "I could never return to Stockholm knowing that I had failed to do everything within human power to save as many jews as possible" - Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish Architect, Businessman
New York rally
New York rally
New York rally
New York rally
Rudrakumaran speaking at the rally
Rudrakumaran speaking at the rally

New York rally
New York rally

External Links:
JVL: Raoul Wallenberg


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