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Tamil’s protesting outside PM’s Canberra home

April 14, 2009

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ABC : Tamil community takes protest to The Lodge

AAP : Tamil protesters surround PM’s home

SMH : Tamil protesters converge on PM’s Lodge

ABC : Tamil protest heads for Canberra

The Australian : Tamil protesters take their message to Kevin Rudd

ABC : Steven Smith urges to discontinue the hunger strike

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  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    April 14, 2009 7:28 am

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 14 April 2009 –

    Australian Tamil Demonstrators to Rally in Canberra at 4PM;
    Hunger Strike to Enter Fourth Day

    Bus loads of demonstrators, including three hunger strikers, are expected to arrive in Canberra from Sydney at 4PM today, to continue their campaign outside The Lodge in protest against the Sri Lankan State’s genocide of the Tamils and to urge the Government of Australia to use its diplomatic powers to pressure Sri Lanka into an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Members of the Australian Tamil community from Canberra and Melbourne are also expected to join.

    The move was finalised yesterday evening with demonstrators wishing to show their appreciation of the local residents being very supportive of their grievances. They also acknowledged that residents would be returning home from their Easter travels and preparing for work, and did not wish to cause any inconvenience during the first work day after a long weekend.

    ‘The Sri Lankan Crisis Statement’ will also be officially handed to Members of Parliament this week –

    The uprising of the Australian community comes amid news that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have entered the “no-fire safe zone”, currently housing over 300,000 Tamil refugees displaced by the Sri Lankan government’s recent military campaigns and that chemical weapons had been used in their attacks last week.

    Despite announcing a 48 hour cessation of hostilities to begin yesterday, reports from the war zone indicated over 294 Tamils civilians had been killed on Easter Sunday and over 30 on Monday due to continuous bombing by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces of the thousands of refugees languishing in open spaces and protected only by tents. The area is now also heavily flooded and the civilians have not been able to seek protection from within their bunkers.

    “The Sri Lankan military has said that it will stop its bombing so that it can participate in New Year celebrations in the country,“ said Dr Sam Pari, a spokesperson for the Tamil community. “However, we received reports from the ground stating they are still bombing civilians. This tells us that the international community cannot trust the Sri Lankan government’s word. Media, aid, medicine and food is still prohibited from entering the conflict zone. So, if there really is a ceasefire, show me one independent source who can confirm it,” added Dr Pari.

    In the first three months of this year alone, over 3500 Tamil civilians have been killed and over 12,000 Tamil causalities resulted due to the Government of Sri Lanka’s bombing of hospitals and civilian targets both inside and outside its self declared safe zone. There is evidence of the Sri Lankan Army’s use of cluster bombs, white phosphorous and chemical weapons in these attacks. They have also banned medicine, aid and food from entering the conflict zone, effectively using starvation as a weapon of war. These breach international law and are war crimes.

    Internationally the Tamil Diaspora has taken to the streets to rally against Sri Lanka’s genocide of the Tamils in the island. Over 50 protests have been held to date nationwide in Australia.

    The Tamil community in Australia call on the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to acknowledge their grievances and use his diplomatic powers to put an end to the genocide of the Tamils. World leaders cannot stay silent any longer. They must work together to act now and put an end to what may be another Rwanda in the making.

    Media Contacts:
    Dr Sam Pari – 0433 428 967
    Mr Adrian Francis – 0420 522 099
    Mr Mohan Raja – 0407 749 024

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