Thousands march for peace, self-determination

[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 February 2001, 12:23 GMT]
More than twelve thousand people marched in Vavuniya and Mannar Saturday urging the Sri Lankan government to stop the war, start Norway mediated peace talks with the Liberation Tigers and recognise the Tamil peopleís right of self determination. Thousands marched through the Vavuniya and Mannar towns and in Murunkan. Christian and Buddhist clergymen, Members of Parliament of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation, local leaders of the Tamil United Liberation Front, Peopleís Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam etc., teachers, traders, students marched crying slogans and carrying banners and placards.

The memorandum by the peace marchers calls on the Sri Lankan government to "stop the war immediately, find peace; do not miss this opportunity to find a solution to the ethnic conflict with the contribution of international community".

The memorandum states:

"1.The Sri Lankan government should order at least an informal ceasefire and thereby stop major military offensives".

"2.Hold talks with the Liberation Tigers with Norwegian mediation to find a solution to the ethnic conflictî.

"3. Accept the right of self-determination of the Tamil people in the north and east so as to lay the foundation for a permanent settlement".

"4. Ensure that safeguarding the Sinhala people's right of self determination should not affect the rights of the Tamil people"

vavu-peace_demo_2_170201.jpgSelvam Adaikalanthan, the TELO leader and Member of Parliament and Vino Noharathalingam TELO MP for Vanni along with local leaders of the PLOTE and the Eelam Peopleís Revolutionary Liberation Organisation took part in the peace march and rally in Mannar town.

More than four thousand people from various parts of Mannar, including Pesalai, Vangalali, Uyilankulam, Pallimunai, Thaalvupaddu etc., walked from different directions towards the Mannar hospital and bus stand this morning. The peace march in Mannar town was led by Fr. Emiliaspillai. The memorandum to the Sri Lankan President was handed over to a senior official at the Mannar Kachcheri.

The Bishop of Mannar Rt.Rev. Rayappu Joseph addressed the marchers who gathered at the main bus stand in Mannar town.

Fr. Jeyabalan Cruz, the parish priest of Rambaikkulam, led the peace march in Vavuniya town. The march was organised by the inter-religious body of Vavuniya led by Fr. Cruz. More than 3000 people, including Muslims and Sinhalese took part in the march.

The incumbent of the Buddhist temple in Vavuniya, Ven. Siyambalagasweva Wimalasara Thero joined the marchers along with two monks working with him.

Mr. Raja Kuhaneswaran TELO MP for Vanni, Mr.S. Thevakularajah TULFís chief organiser for Vavuniya, Mr.K.A Senthilnathan, organiser, All Ceylon Tamil Congress etc., were also among the vanguard of the march.

The marchers handed over the memorandum to the Sri Lankan President to the Vavuniya GA, K.Ganesh at the Kachcheri.

Meanwhile, more than four thousand marched from Murunkan to Semmantheevu, three kilometres east, to hand over the memorandum to the Mannar Peace Committee. The Murunkan march was led by Fr.Thevaskayampillai. Murunkan is about 18 kilometers southeast of Mannar.



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