Lankans in London exert heavy pressure to Tony Blair

By Thilak S. Fernando

Sri Lankan expatriates in the UK organised a mass demonstration in front of No. 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister's official residence in London, on 21 February, to send the message that enough is enough in tolerating the LTTE activities in the UK.

Initially hundreds of Lankans gathered on Saturday representing The International Campaign for the Liberation of the Sinhala Nation and Motherland, Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers Overseas, Sri Lankan Solidarity Movement in London, World Youth Organisation, Federation of Sri Lankan Associations in the UK and Sinhala Bala Mandalaya. After a four-hour peaceful demonstration in front of Downing Street a petition signed by several thousand Sri Lankans addressed to Mr. Tony Blair was handed over with a request to ban the LTTE in the UK and shut down their offices in London.

This was an opportune moment as the London Evening Standard on 3 February 98 carried an article distinctly conveying the message that ' if the British Government wished to close down the LTTE operation in London they could do so, and the excuses given so far were lame'. This particular article, photocopied into thousands, was distributed to a good cross section of the Londoners who happened to go pass the demonstration. Among the many placards carried by the protesters the following phrases became eye catching to the passers by:

Massacred By Tamil Terrorists Funded By the British Welfare State

Thousands of Tamil Tiger Terrorists are living in the UK as bogus refugees, abusing the British Welfare System. They collect in excess of 25 million annually (Source: Evening Standard, 03 Feb 98) through their international headquarters in London (211 Katherine Road, London E6).

Why Are They Allowed To Operate Legally In the UK?

The demonstration was followed by a seven-day vigil in front of Downing Street from 8.a.m till 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, initiated by Gamini Keerthichandra, President of the Sinhala Bala Mandalaya. Many took turns beating the wintry weather on the roadside pavement. For once, Sinhala expatriates exhibited their unity and that they do care for their country and are doing their bit for their motherland. Speaking to the 'London Diary' Gamini Keerthichandra told that the demonstration and the vigil have been most productive in the sense that it was the first instance that many Sinhala patriotic movements joined hands with each other to show their solidarity to fight against terrorism in their motherland and to remind the British Government that the LTTE is a banned terrorist organisation within Sri Lanka and other countries in the world including the USA. This has also been a unique opportunity, according to Keerthichandra, to brief many British government ministers and members of parliament who were passing by towards the Downing Street and the House of Commons about the true story about the LTTE terrorist group in England and how they raise funds over 25 Million pounds per year from the U.K for its terrorist activities in Sri Lanka.

Having been successful in enlightening many British parliamentarians and the general public about the damage the Tiger terrorist groups can do if they are allowed into Britain as refugees and asylum seekers to wage a terrorist war in Sri Lanka, Sinhala Bala Mandalaya's vigil outside Tony Blair's residence is being extended for another week, commencing 2nd to 6th March and collection of signatures to submit further petitions urging the British Prime Minister to take immediate action against banning the LTTE, continues very seriously.

Apart from bad cold weather it is admirable to see patriotic Sri Lankans foregoing their day's/ the whole week's pay at a tremendous personal financial loss to themselves, the manner in which they show how much they love their motherland and to save her from going to ruins as a result of terrorism.

In the meantime a young expatriate group of Sri Lankans have started a new Website calling themselves ' Sinhaya', as opposed to the LTTE Tigers, which goes into explicit details of barbaric acts of the terrorism, with some gruesome pictures of massacred Sinhalese children and civilians.

' Sinhaya' states, " Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country, comprising of Sinhala, Tamils and Muslims. LTTE Terrorists are fighting for an independent, Tamil only country in the North and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. They are demanding 35% of the landmass and 65% of the coastline, for 7% of the population. Even after thousands of Sinhala and Muslim civilians have been ethnically cleansed by the LTTE, at present, the Tamils represent less than 45% of the population of the eastern province. Majority of Tamils in Sri Lanka does not want a separate state. More than half the Tamil population lives in harmony amongst the Sinhala and Muslim in the Southern parts of the Island.

Sinhaya continues: 'LTTE Achievements in the name of "Liberation are massacring in excess of 20,000 innocent and defenceless men, women, children and babies in arms, including over 3,000 Tamils. Kidnapping children from their families, as young as ten years of age in order to send them to the battlefront. Murdering most politicians who do not agree with their perverse views, including Rajiv Gandhi of India and a host of prominent Sinhala and Tamil politicians, showing callous disregard for human lives by exploding bombs in crowded city centres, rush hour trains and places of worship with no prior warning.

'A number of countries around the world including the United States have already banned the LTTE and all its front organisations. Help us ban the LTTE in Britain. Write to the Home Secretary and your local M.P'.

Sinhaya could be accessed through: