Rajapakse endures brickbats and snowballs in London

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 December 2010, 02:40 GMT]
Mass demonstrations in London condemning Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse as a war criminal took place Thursday evening in front of his luxury hotel and the Sri Lankan High Commission where he held a glittering reception for some of his supporters in lieu of his abortive address to the Oxford Union. Over seven thousand Tamil expatriates and others braved the snow falls inundating Britain this week to crowd Park Lane, where The Dorchester is located, to demand Sri Lankan officials be prosecuted for war crimes, while hundreds more filled the short street in front of the High Commission. President Rajapakse’s reception began with an organising mix-up that left some of his select guests waiting to be allowed into the mission, and ended with a flurry snowballs thumping into his departing police-escorted motorcade.

Parklane protest
Parklane protest
Parklane protest
Parklane protest
Rajapakse in backseat
Rajapakse in backseat
Several thousand demonstrators gathered from 4pm on Park Lane in front of The Dorchester, carrying placards and hundreds of Tamil Eelam flags, and chanting slogans denouncing President Rajapakse and his regime.

Activists handed out leaflets along Oxford Street and Piccadilly to tourists and commuters highlighting Sri Lanka’s war crimes and urging public support for international war crimes investigations.

At Park Lane dozens of reporters filmed the demonstration and interviewed protestors.

“These people are asking for justice,” Kumar Kumarandran, a spokesman for the British Tamil Forum, one of the groups which organised the event, told reporters.

“We want an independent, international investigation into war crimes and crimes and humanity committed by President Rajapakse and his government,” he said, gesturing at the plush hotel opposite.

At 6pm some of protestors, mainly university students, left the main demonstration and walked the short distance to the Sri Lankan High Commission where they began another demonstration.

Inside, a reception hosted by President Rajapaksa to which selected guests - overwhelmingly Sinhalese – had been invited was beginning.

The glittering event had been organised in lieu of President Rajapska’s address to the Oxford Union, which the society cancelled at the last minute amid expected mass protests in the university town. That event had been the raison d’etre of President Rajapska’s visit to Britain this week.

Outside, as snow continued to fall amid sub-zero temperatures, the noisy demonstrations continued. Chants of “Britain! Arrest him!” and “Rajapakse – War Criminal!” gave way amid news President Rajapakse was at the reception to “Rajapakse – where are you hiding?!” and “Rajapakse, come out you coward!”

Police officers spaced themselves along Park Lane opposite the demonstrators, but the atmosphere was relaxed and rush hour traffic rolled as usual down the central thoroughfare – only being stopped to allow President Rajapakse’s motorcade returning from the High Commission.

Cameras caught President Rajapakse’s solemn features as unmarked BMW police cars carrying him and members of his entourage swept into The Dorchester.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, a group of Sinhala demonstrators carrying Lion flags – and a poster of President Rajapakse – demonstrated in his support opposite Tamil activists who began their own protest before the main demonstration at 4pm.

Some of the Sinhalese, who produced press passes, began filming the Tamils before police moved them on, sources said. British reporters quoted police as saying they had received reports Sri Lankan officials were organizing the filming.

Photos are stills from Channel 4 News footage broadcast Thursday

 

Latest 15 Reports
12.07.20 10:04  
Sinhala Police OIC hit Tamil women with vehicle for opposing monks-led heritage ‘task force’
11.07.20 03:40   Photo
CBK, Kadirgamar condemned at Navaali genocidal massacre remembrance event
10.07.20 00:05   Photo
SL Police harasses Shivajilingam at 25th Remembrance of Navaali massacre in Jaffna
09.07.20 09:33  
SL Navy brutally assaults Tamil fishers in Mullaith-theevu
08.07.20 16:33   Photo
Sinhala colonists encroach into Kangku-veali, Mean-kamam reservoirs in Trincomalee
07.07.20 19:36   Photo
Colombo schemes to expand ilmenite scooping into North from Pulmoaddai in East
06.07.20 19:06  
Colombo transfers Tamil Political Prisoners to notorious Anuradhapura prison
05.07.20 23:06   Photo
University students, Shivajilingam brave SL harassment to commemorate fallen Black Tigers
04.07.20 22:28   Photo
Monk commanding Sinhala-Buddhicisation of North-East threatens Tamil villagers in Batticaloa
03.07.20 19:28   Photo
After Naavat-kuzhi, Colombo targets Poonakari for Sinhala colonisation across Jaffna lagoon
02.07.20 22:26  
Colombo imposes restrictions on Tamil valour related symbolism in schools of North
01.07.20 13:22  
New secret unit among four SL military and police squads competing to arrest Tamil youth in North
30.06.20 22:10  
Tamils blocked from accessing properties near SL Navy training base in Champoor, Trincomalee
29.06.20 23:29   Photo
Moragoda advising Gotabaya prompts Sinhala parties to scrap Provincial Councils
28.06.20 22:06  
India privileging BRIC/RIC over Quad ‘discordant’, says former US top diplomat
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33158