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Sri Lanka: Tamil Protesters for an Anti-Govt Rally Attacked by Military in Batticaloa Today

A Bus Transporting Families of the Disappeared to the University Students Protest Rally Today was Damaged

Today (7th) the final rally will be held in Batticaloa town, where a declaration on Tamil demands is to be made.”
— Families of the Disappeared
BATTICALOA, SRI LANKA, February 7, 2023 / -- Military troops based in Ampara in the Eastern Province have attacked and severely damaged a bus transporting family of the disappeared to the University students protest rally today in Batticaloa.

This protest march for Tamil demands, started on Sri Lanka's independences day, which the students declared a day of mourning to protest against continuing discrimination and abuse since independence 75 years ago. Saying Independence is only for Sinhalese and not for Tamils,

Yesterday, the protest march reached Trincomalee and is entering Batticaloa today (7th) for the final rally in Batticaloa town, where a declaration on Tamil demands is to be made.

Thousands, including women and children have joined the four-day long march organized by Tamil University Student's completed its third day and will enter its final destination Batticaloa on Tuesday (7th).

Despite military blockade and harassment, the march is proceeding.

The marchers passed through the area where according to UN around 70 thousand Tamils were killed in 2009. Huge crowds lined up in the streets to welcome the marchers and provided food and refreshments,

Shouting slogans including "We don't want Sri Lankan Military in Tamil areas" to "Hold an internationally conducted Referendum for a permanent political solution" the march will reach Batticaloa after four days and will make a declaration about Tamil's demands.

The student led protest march was joined by Tamil victim groups including families of the disappeared, Hindu and Christian religious leaders, Tamil Civil Society groups, Tamil women groups, Tamil trade unions, Tamil farmers & Fisheries organizations, and others.

Marchers are holding signs highlighting "Forced Marriage" between Sinhalese and Tamils to live together in the island by the departing British, who merged Tamil and Sinhala Kingdoms in 1833 for easy administrative purposes.

Tamils have been systematically abused and targeted for their Tamil ethnic identity since independence 75 years ago, starting from making half the Tamil population stateless, followed by Sinhala as the only official language, and race-based University admissions that severely discriminated Tamil students. Tamils periodically faced state supported anti-Tamil pogroms including in 1958, 1977 and 1983 resulting in thousands of Tamils killed and Tamil women sexually assaulted and raped. According to UN around 70 thousand Tamils were killed in six months in 2009. So far no one have been held accountable for these atrocity crimes.

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