Despite ongoing repression, Tamils continue to fight for their rights, including over the seizure of Tamil land for military bases, reports Chris Slee.
More than 500 Tamil demonstrators tried to march to the site of a destroyed Hindu temple at Kanniyaa in the Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka on July 16.
About 4000 Tamils rallied in Mullaitheevu on the northeast coast of the island of Sri Lanka on August 28, Tamilnet reported.
They demanded the return of land previously confiscated from its Tamil owners and given to settlers from Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese ethnic majority, as well as the abandonment of irrigation projects that will result in further Sinhalese settlements in Tamil areas.
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.
Students and staff of Jaffna University rallied on October 4 in support of three Tamil prisoners who are on hunger strike.
The prisoners are accused of having been members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka, until defeated in May 2009. The Sri Lankan government’s victory was accompanied by a genocidal massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.
Protesters have been camping outside a Sri Lankan Air Force base since January 31 at Keappaapulavu on the north-eastern coast of the island of Sri Lanka.
Women are playing a leading role in the protest. They are demanding the return of their land, which was taken away to create a military zone.
The Keappaapulavu base is one of many military bases built throughout the north and east of the island. After the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland, Tamil areas are under what amounts to a military occupation.
Protests have hit the predominantly Tamil Northern Province of Sri Lanka in recent days.
On February 4, Tamilnet said 200 relatives of disappeared people gathered near the Jaffna District Secretariat building. Sivapatham Ilankothai told how her daughter and son-in-law and their three children disappeared after being taken away by the Sri Lankan Army on May 18, 2009. Many thousands of other Tamils have also disappeared in a similar way.
Uprooted Tamil families from Keappaa-pulavu in the predominantly Tamil north-east province of Mullaiththeevu have accused the Sri Lankan military of genocide for depriving them of their land.
Following a series of protests by Tamils, who face systematic discrimination and oppression, Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena was supposed to release 234 acres of lands to Tamil families last month as a temporary measure.
Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka have defied police harassment and threats from government ministers to remember those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.
November 27 is Tamil Eelam Heroes Day. In past years, people have been arrested for taking part in commemorative events.
Tamils in the northern province of Sri Lanka carried out a one-day strike on October 25 in protest against police repression, Tamilnet said. The strike was called by Tamil political parties after the October 20 murder of two Jaffna University students by Sinhalese police officers.