Sri Lankas' state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene rejected Tamils calls for the release of political prisoners stating that those detained were 'LTTE suspects'.
“A group of TNA MPs are attempting to collapse the peaceful live hood of Northerners by holding Harthal," Mr Wijewardene was quoted by Adaderana as saying.
"These prisoners are not political prisoners as interpreted by the TNA. Investigations have revealed that they are a set of former LTTTE members engaged in a number of crimes during the period of war," he said.
"Therefore it is clear that these protests are driven by political needs of a minority.”