"Half a million refugees — give them aid", "Freedom for our people", "Tamil self-determination!" were among the placards of the Tamil community who protested at Murray Street Mall in Perth on November 11. A rally spokesperson told Green Left Weekly that "the military offensive by the Sri Lankan government has left half a million Tamils homeless, and it has not even allowed access to international aid agencies or the United Nations". The spokesperson also described the government's recent negotiation offer as a clever but dishonest public relations exercise timed to soften international condemnation of the military offensive. "We want Australians to know what is happening to our people", said another protester. Leaflets describing the history of the Tamil struggle and recent developments were distributed to hundreds of passers-by, with many stopping to talk. In Melbourne hundreds of Tamils gathered on November 10 and 11 for a 24-hour fast and vigil in solidarity with the Tamils who have fled Jaffna. Organised by the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), the rally called on the Sri Lankan government to allow aid agencies and the UN to provide assistance to the displaced Tamils, to withdraw from the Tamil homeland and immediately start negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. To offer support contact TRO on (03) 9800 3899, 9763 4025.
Tamil protests call for solidarity
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