Tamil protesters in London call for Sri Lanka ceasefire

April 7th, 2009 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 7 (DPA) Hundreds of Tamils Tuesday protested outside the parliament in London demanding an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka and an end to alleged human rights abuses by the government in its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels.
Minor scuffles broke out as police moved protesters into the centre of Parliament Square and an adjoining green to clear traffic after demonstrators had occupied nearby Westminster Bridge overnight.

But the protest, which started off involving about 3,000 Monday, had dwindled to several hundred by Tuesday.

Rescue boats remained on standby after demonstrators threatened to jump into the Thames from Westminster Bridge. One man was rescued and taken to hospital after jumping into the icy water early Tuesday.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the police were trying to minimise disruption by moving the protestors off the roads.

He said participants failed to give notice of the demonstration and had waved flags showing the emblem of the Tamil Tigers, which is banned in Britain as a terrorist organisation.

According to the UN, some 150,000 people are trapped in Sri Lanka’s northern war zone while Tamils claim they are victims of human rights abuses.

Sri Lanka’s government has rejected calls for a ceasefire with the Tamil Tiger rebel group, which wants independence.

Suren Surendiran, of the British Tamils Forum, said the protestors wanted the British government to act.

“As British citizens, they want the UK government to act. Rather than just calling for a ceasefire, they should go to the UN security council to demand one,” he said.

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