31 arrested in Tamil protest at British parliament (Second Lead)

May 12th, 2009 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

London, May 11 (IANS) Police arrested 31 people after hundreds of Tamil protesters waving LTTE flags brought traffic to a standstill outside the British parliament in the middle of Monday-morning rush hour.
Police made the arrests after some 500 protesters calling for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka broke through police lines at around 10.30 a.m and squatted in the middle of the road in front of the British parliament in central London.

Sri Lankan Tamils have been protesting outside the parliament for weeks, but have so far confined their demonstrations to Parliament Square - a grassy patch across the road from the parliament buildings.

But Monday’s action was precipitate by the reported massacre of some 430 Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka Sunday.

London Police, which diverted traffic and close all vehicular approaches to the parliament, objected to protesters waving flags of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a terrorist organisation that is banned in Britain, Sky News reported.

Last month, two Tamil protesters jumped into the Thames river and several arrests were made during a march attended by thousands.

Tamils have also targeted the Indian High Commission and the Chinese Embassy in London for often-violent protests, leading to five arrests outside the Indian mission April 27.

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