Tamils rally for end to genocide

Four hundred Tamils and their supporters gathered in Melbourne on April 23 for an emergency protest. It was organised in response to the Sri Lankan government's latest brutal military escalation in the north of the island.

More than 5000 Tamil civilians have been killed in 2009, with tens of thousands more trapped without food and medical aid on a tiny, sandy strip of land.

Hundreds if not thousands of Tamils in the "safe zones" have been killed or seriously wounded through repeated shelling by the Sri Lankan Army, under the guise of rooting out the armed Tamil Tiger national resistance movement.

GLW was told that civilians are being "evacuated" by the SLA and then disappeared or interned in detention centres.

The protesters went on a silent march though the city with black material covering their mouths and candles in their hands, symbolising the deadly silence of the international community with regards to the genocide perpetrated against the Tamil people.

At State Parliament, Tamil leaders and activists Siva Kumar, Shan Kumar, Reverent Roland Seelan, Dr Bobby Sundaralingam and Margarita Windisch from the Socialist Alliance addressed the crowd, calling for international solidarity and for the Tamil community to stay strong and not lose hope.

Windisch told the crowd that the Rudd government should suspend all diplomatic, military, economic and cultural ties with the Sri Lankan administration until it implements an immediate ceasefire.

She said no Australians should be threatened with possible "anti-terrorism" charges for assisting the beleaguered Tamil and Muslim civilians in Sri Lanka and that all charges must be dropped against Australian Tamil activists who raised money for Tamil victims of the 2004 tsunami.

All Tamil refugees fleeing the brutality of the war must be accepted into Australia, she said.

On April 20, around 300 members of the Brisbane Tamil community and supporters gathered outside Parliament House in Brisbane. Caps and t-shirts with the slogan "Stop the Genocide in Sri Lanka" were distributed. Led by young Tamils, the crowd took to the streets for two hours during peak, hour chanting and handing out information about the situation in Sri Lanka.

On April 22, 600 people rallied outside ALP MP Julie Owens' office in Parramatta, Sydney, and the next day, 70 people gathered outside Coalition MP Joe Hockey's North Sydney. Both actions called on the federal government and opposition to take a tougher stance against Sri Lanka's attack.

One hundred-and-fifty Tamils and their supporters held an emergency lunchtime rally outside Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services Laurie Ferguson's office in Granville on April 24.

One Tamil protester told Green Left Weekly that a relative in Sri Lanka attempting to flee the warzone in a boat had been shot by the Sri Lankan Navy a day earlier. The Tamils pledged to continue campaigning until they have full justice and self-determination.

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