London Tamils call off longest vigil of recent years

June 18th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 18 (IANS) Tamils have called off a round-the-clock vigil outside the British parliament after 73 days of protesting against what they described as a “genocide” by the Sri Lankan forces.
The protest action, mostly peaceful and confined to a park opposite the parliament building, was one of the longest vigils seen in the British capital in recent years and cost the police millions of pounds.

A Tamil community spokeswoman told IANS the vigil was called off Wednesday.

Police have had a 24-hour presence at the green - called Parliament Square - ever since the vigil began April 6, and city police chief Sir Paul Stephenson said six weeks of policing costs came to 7.9 million pounds.

The noisy protesters were derided by the outgoing speaker of the parliament for causing traffic disruptions and insanitary conditions but continued undeterred.

There were arrests on at least one occasion when protesters spilled over from the green to the busy road separating the Square from the parliament, and scuffles broke out.

They were protesting the Sri Lankan armed forces’ operation targeting Tamil Tigers in the island nation.

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