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Tamils protest in Edinburgh

demonstrators with bannerdemonstrators with flagschild at at demonstration

Tamils and others gathered outside the Scottish parliament yesterday (30 April 2009) to protest against the genocide of Tamils by the Srilanka Government. The demonstrators demanded an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Many of the demonstrators carried flags of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Displaying these flags is an offence under the Terrorism Act 2000, since the Tamil Tigers are included in the UK's list of proscribed "terrorist" organisations. The criminalisation of the Tamil Tigers in Britain and elsewhere has made it possible for the Srilanka Government to refuse negotiations and has contributed to the humanitarian disaster now unfolding in Srilanka. Demonstrators chanted "Tamil Tigers - freedom fighters" and "lift the ban"

More than 165,000 Tamil people are trapped in the so called "no fire zones" in Srilanka, according to a recent (24 April 2009) statement by the LTTE political division. These zones are in fact the war zone. The Srilanka government claims that only 10,000 to 20,000 people are trapped in the zones. Tamils say that this means that the government is planning massive genocide.

7,000 Tamils in Vanni district (Srilanka) have been killed and 14,000 injured in the last three months, according to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Thousands of injured, starved and severely traumatised people are forcibly detained in camps. Many report that Tamil women have been systematically raped by the Sri Lankan military. Over a million Tamil people are internally displaced, or have had to flee the country.

The media coverage of this massacre is reminiscent of how Israel's carnage in Gaza was reported: the Sri Lankan government's version is believed over that of the people they are targeting, and the claim that "terrorists are using civilians as human shields" is used to justify ethnic cleansing by government forces. But unlike with Gaza, our TV screens have not given us daily images of children, women and men killed or maimed by heavy weaponry – images that spoke for themselves however biased the commentary.

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