Tamils protest outside Australian PM’s home

April 14th, 2009 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Canberra, April 14 (Xinhua) Over 100 Tamil protesters converged outside the Australian prime minister’s Canberra residence Tuesday and demanded that Australia play a greater role in efforts to end violence in Sri Lanka.
The protesters wanted Australia to use diplomatic channels to push for a permanent cease-fire in the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil rebels.

“We have the right to ask the (prime minister) to stop the genocide,” said the group’s spokesman, Mahendran Ratmam.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said the situation in Sri Lanka was terrible.

“We have for some time been very concerned about circumstances in Sri Lanka, for some time I’ve been calling on the Sri Lankan government to engage in a political dialogue,” Smith told reporters in Perth.

Smith Monday urged the Tamil Tigers to allow the exodus of civilians.

“We’ve previously called on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and engage in political dialogue and we again do that,” Smith said.

The Sri Lankan government said that it is on the verge of defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the rebel group which has been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland.

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