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Maaveerar Naal marked by thousands in London

Updated 23:59 GMT with further photographs 

 

Thousands of Tamils gathered in London today to commemorate Maaveerar Naal. Taking place this year as one single event in the ExCel convention centre, the remembrance took place as Tamils in the North-East faced a severe clampdown on any attempts to mark the day.

Commencing after the lighting of the traditional lamp, the British flag and Tamil Eelam flag were hoisted. As the thousands of Tamils who had already streamed in before midday stood, a moment's silence or 'Ahavanakkam' was observed in memory of all those who died in the struggle for Tamil Eelam.

 

 Replicating the now destroyed tombstones of the LTTE cemeteries in the North-East, memorials adorned either side of the stage, with row upon row of photographs of LTTE cadre. In a ceremonial presentation, the flag of Tamil Eelam was laid over the tombstones and saluted.

At 12:35, the precise moment the first Maaveerar Col. Shankar died, the sound of the bell tolled and the lamp of sacrifice was lit by the mother of a fallen LTTE cadre.

Holding candles in their hands, all those present stood in silence as the song of remembrance played, the lyrics calling on the fallen to rise on this auspicious day from their tombstones.


 

Row by row, Tamils continue to come forward, with a single Kaarthigai poo (Gloriosa lily, the national flower of Tamil Eelam) in their hand, to lay at the memorial either side of the stage.

As the crowds streamed in through out the day, some making time during their lunch break and others rushing their after work, songs, poetry readings, dances and drama acts, brought the suffering of the Tamil people, and the resolve of Tamil resistance to life.

Addressing the crowds the Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes and the Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh stressed the need for justice and accountability.

Acknowledging November 27th as a "special day" for the Tamils, Ms McDonagh called once again for an "independent, international investigation" as the only means for justice.

The event was also addressed by the former Batticaloa MP, Mr Jeyananthamoorthy, as well as the poet Kasi Ananthan via video link.

The crowd was also addressed by young Tamils from the Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYO UK), who vowed to continue the struggle of the fallen with unwavering resolve. 

The event drew to a close at 6pm, with a final word from the event organisers, TCC UK and a student from Tamil Nadu. Making his appeal via a video link, the student pledged the Tamil Nadu people's undying support for the Eelam Tamil struggle.