Sri Lanka: Tamils launch large strike for political prisoners

The predominantly Tamil northern province of Sri Lanka was at a “complete standstill” on October 13, according to Tamilnet. All public and private businesses were shut down.

The strike was called by 20 grassroots movements to demand the unconditional release of all Tamil political prisoners.

Protesters blocked the A9 highway, and blockaded the secretariat of the Colombo-appointed governor of the Northern Province.

The next day protesters with black flags confronted Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena who was visiting a school in Jaffna.

The strike and demonstrations were sparked by the hunger strike of three Tamil political prisoners in protest at plans to put them on trial in Anuradhapura, a Sinhalese town where court proceedings would be conducted in the Sinhala language.