Pro-tamil protests grow in Westminster, London

Article published on May 18, 2009
Article published on May 18, 2009
For the past 6 weeks pro-Tamil protesters have held a continuous presence outside the Houses of Parliament, demonstrating for the UK government to do more to to help the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Photo courtesy of flickr user Travis_Pictures, taken on 11th May in Westminster

In the last 24 hours the protests have grown to around 2000 people with Westminster Bridge jammed with traffic, buses unable to move and Parliament square blocked off to all cars. The sit down protest start growing early afternoon and by 7pm, the police had built up a heavy presence and ambulances were on stand by on the bridge. However, the protest was remaining peaceful with many demonstrators sat on the ground chanting.

The protesters consists of young children, older protesters, men and women and many have been coming every day for the last six weeks. Six Tamil demonstrators in Parliament Square, four men and two women, have been on hunger strike since last Tuesday, appalled at the lack of UK government intervention in Sri Lanka and protesting against the alleged attacks by Sri Lankan troops on Tamil civilians.

The protests have increased in intensity since the Sri Lankan government announced last night that Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Pradhakaran had been killed. Details of his death have not yet been released and some people are not convinced by the accuracy of the reports. The military have also claimed that 250 Tamil Tigers were killed overnight. According to the BBC “more than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict and thousands displaced.

European Union foreign ministers have today held a meeting in Brussels which resulted in the condemnation of civilian casualities. The ministers also called for an inquiry into alleged war crimes by both sides.