The Sri Lankan military blocked youth from across the North-East from attending a conference for the ‘Association of Friendship and Love’ (AFRIEL) organised in Jaffna, reports Uthayan.
Soldiers at a military checkpoint in Poonakari questioned those travelling from Mannar for more than an hour and half, whilst others were contacted on their mobiles and warned against participating in the event.
AFRIEL’s central committee member Ravendra De Silva said the Sri Lanka army and military intelligence had placed pressure on the organisers to stop the event, interfering with attempts to book a venue as well as having a heavy military presence on the day of the conference. Thousands of youth failed to attend following this military intimidation said De Silva.
However, the event went ahead regardless with more than 1500 people in attendance, including chief guest C V Wigneswaran, who was presented with the “Journey to Freedom 2014 Youth Declarations”.