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Home > Tamil Eelam Struggle for Freedom > International Frame & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam > United Kingdom > Thousands of British Tamils Rally in London Parliament Square
Thousands of British Tamils Rally in London Parliament Square
6 October 2008
Thousands of people, largely Tamils turned up with a relatively short notice outside the British Parliament on 6 October 2008 between 4 pm and 7 pm to demand action against indiscriminate aerial bombardment of Tamils by Government of Sri Lanka (G0SL).
They also demanded that the UK Government should act now rather than wait for diplomacy to work in helping the over 230,000 Tamils internally displaced by these bombings and military action taken by GoSL.
This show of strength and will of the Tamil Diaspora was organised by the British Tamils Forum. Even though the weather forecast predicted rain, parents with babies as old as 4 months were there to show solidarity.
Even when the rains came down around 6.15pm, people were unmoved. Age, Religion, Language or Gender were no barrier as from grand parents to babies in push chairs, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus to Tamils, Sinhalese were all present at the scene. People from all walks of life made an effort to participate. Through a series of chain mobile texts and emails people were contacted since last Wednesday to inform of this peaceful protest.
To have reached over many thousands people in just over five days is a remarkable achievement and it also shows the feelings amongst the Tamil Diaspora wanting to show solidarity, resolve and strength with their suffering relatives back in Sri Lanka.
This massive crowd drew attention from the general British public who are largely unaware of the State Terrorism that was unleashed against the Tamil civilian population back in Sri Lanka. Some engaged in conversations with the protestors trying to understand the gravity of the situation.
Most were flabbergasted when they heard that that the GoSL is bombing its own people and creating such large scale displacement of people. They were petrified to hear that the Government has expelled all the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from these affected areas where these were the only people there to help the displaced. Therefore as awareness campaign this certainly achieved more than what the organisers bargained for.
Tourist Buses stopped or slowed down for passengers to see and photograph such a large crowd of protestors, office workers went passed reading placards which carried messages of gruesome reality. Following were some of the messages on placards that were carried by hundreds of protestors
Sri Lanka Stop the Bombing of
A large portion of the crowd were vociferous and chanted many slogans such as "We want our soil" "We want Tamil Eelam" "Sri Lanka stop the bombing of Tamils" "Sri Lanka stop the killing of Tamils". People were spontaneously clapping and singing. Some cars hooted in support, when driving past.
6 October 2008 was chosen to coincide with the return of Members of Parliament after the summer recess. Hon John McDonnell MP (Labour) for Hayes and Harlington and Hon Virendra Sharma MP (Labour) for Ealing, Southall and who is also the current Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T) joined the protestors, briefly.
They both said that they shared the sentiments of the protestors and condemned the human rights violations carried out by the GoSL. They said that they will both urge the government of Britain to intervene directly to help the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
There were members of Tamil Youth Organisation who dressed up as skeletons to depict the suffering of their brethren back home. There was President Rajapakse look alike who was carrying a toy gun on his shoulder with dolls with blood stained dresses hanging down from the gun.
Members of the Metropolitan Police were at the scene to maintain crowd and traffic control. British Tamils Forum also organised trained volunteers to help control human traffic. Members of the Metropolitan Police declared at the end, this as another successfully organised protest that was held orderly and some said they enjoyed being part of it. A very well behaved community was another comment shared by the Police.
At 7 pm sharp when the Big Ben struck, crowd started to disperse slowly and not all at once making the job of the Police and volunteers very easy.