Tamil hunger strike shut down

Scuffles broke out in Parramatta mall on May 5 as police and Lord Mayor Tony Issa forcibly shut down a Tamil hunger strike protesting the Sri Lankan government's genocide of the Tamil people.

A Tamil protester, 27-year-old Sudha Suthaharam, had been on hunger strike for three days. He was arrested along with two others.

Issa, a Liberal Party member, told the Tamil protesters to "go back to Sri Lanka".

More than 7000 Tamils have been massacred by the Sri Lankan Army in the last 90 days. Representatives of the Tamil community characterised the mayor's comments as "irresponsible". Spokesperson Uma Ramachanbram said she was "shocked and disappointed" by the mayor's response, the May 5 Parramatta Advertiser reported.

"We are all Australian citizens or residents, worried about our relatives in Sri Lanka who are starving and dying", she said.

Issa's comments came as shocking new evidence emerged of Sri Lankan government abuse of Tamil civilians in "welfare camps" including food and water shortages, dead bodies left where they have fallen, women and children separated from their families and even sexual abuse.

The three arrested men, charged with refusal or failure to comply with a lawful direction and joining or continuing an unlawful assembly, were granted conditional bail. They will appear in Parramatta local court on June 10.

On May 7, Unions NSW passed a motion calling on the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all civilians who are affected by the government conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Unions NSW will invite a speaker to address a council meeting about the conflict.

Four hundred Tamils braved bad weather to protest in Melbourne on May 9. They carried black coffins to symbolise the thousands of Tamils killed since January.

The Tamil community plans to hold rallies every day this week to protest the continuing genocide.