Last night I attended this moving event outside the Australian Prime Minister’s Sydney water-front home, in an attempt to force the government to pressure the Sri Lankan regime to stop its insane campaign against the Tamil people:
More than 1,000 Tamil protesters, mostly families with small children, staged a sit-down protest blocking the junction of Kirribilli Avenue and Carabella Streets outside the Prime Minister’s Sydney residence in Kirribilli. It was part of a global protest aimed at brokering a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers in north-eastern Sri Lanka…
The protest group, which began as a three-man hunger strike in Parramatta on Saturday, continued to grow despite Mr Rudd not being present inside. More than 30 police were monitoring the situation as the hunger strikers said they were prepared to “starve to death” to draw attention to the plight of their families under the continuing Sri Lankan government bombing.
A spokesman for the protesters, Adrian Francis, told ABC News Breakfast that the conditions of the weekend’s temporary two-day cease-fire in Sri Lanka were unacceptable.
“This cease-fire provides no comfort whatsoever to the Tamil people standing here today,” he said.
“Providing Tamils and civilians in the north and east of Sri Lanka 48 hours to escape, and nothing else, does not meet our demands whatsoever.
“We demand that there’s a cease-fire that incorporates Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [Tamil Tigers].
“We demand that there’s urgent food and medicine that should reach the Tamil civilians, we demand that the Tamils have the right to self-determination – they have the right to live where they want to live – and we also want the international community to know there is a serious genocide happening against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka at the moment.”
Such peaceful expressions of protest should be praised for raising the profile of the issue in the general public and highlighting a largely forgotten war, equally brutal as the Israeli campaigns against Palestine, but seemingly ignored in the Western press.