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British Tamils mark 12th anniversary of Mullivaikkal massacre with rally in London

British Tamils rallied in London today to commemorate the tens of thousands of lives lost in Mullivaikkal in 2009. 

Protesters demonstrated at Parliament Square, demanding justice for the atrocities perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state in Mullivaikkal 12 years ago. 

Tamil youths brave the rain to demonstrate in front of Parliament Square. 

Protesters held placards that read "justice delayed is justice denied" and "Tamil genocide is a fact" as they chanted to "free Tamil Eelam." 

Speaking to Tamil Guardian, a British Tamil demonstrator said:

"It has been 12 years since the Mullivaikkal genocide happened so we're here to remember those who died in Mullivaikkal and those who gave their lives for us. We're still trying to get the UK government to hold Sri Lanka accountable for their war crimes. We've been protesting this for years and we're still here. We're going to continue doing so." 

Over 200 Tamils gathered at Downing Street to pay their respects to those who lost their lives at Mullivaikkal. Candles were lit and flowers were laid in tribute by Tamils present at the demonstration.

Later in the day, hundreds of British Tamils gathered outside Downing Street where a group of Tamils were engaged in a hunger strike.  

One of those taking part in the hunger strike told Tamil Guardian about the ever imperative need for international justice: 

"In Mullivaikkal our people suffered and died without food, without kanji for even one meal. Around 150,000 people perished. We are here to seek justice on their behalf and are commencing a one day hunger strike. In 2019 we commenced a seven day hunger strike. Today, we didn't get the permission like that time. Our reason… the international community has been deceiving us. We ask… in the war the Sri Lankan army fought, and our army fought. But the Sinhala army won. We are not asking for victory, we want justice. We need the justice. We are fighting for justice. They keep saying ‘Buddhist dharma’ is love and compassion. But they did not even show any compassion… little brother Balachandran, a little boy was brutally murdered. Many leaders who surrendered with white flags, were tortured to death, evidence was released on Channel Four. Today in a world, these international countries that send satellites to the moon… do they don't know what happened to the Tamil people? International countries have not given us justice. We keep asking for justice not for victory. We need justice for Tamils! Our people in the North and East need freedom and peace. What nefarious plans these international countries may have had is a different conversation. We need justice. That is why we are all participating in this one day hunger strike. Until we win, our Tamil people will fight fiercely."

He stressed the need for Tamil unity to draw attention to the Tamil genocide:

"Today's event whether 40,000 or 50,000 people get permission and 50,000 people come is not significant. However, when only 4,000 thousand are given permission it is important for 50,000 people to show up. That is when the international community automatically pays attention to seek justice. Tamil people must come forward and participate in important protests such as May 18 and Maaveerar Naal. Despite your work commitments, it is important to put that aside for these two days. A decade has already gone, we need to get justice within this next decade. That is why we are all fasting today. Thank you. One day Tamil Eelam will be victorious!"

Another Tamil woman fasting reiterated the significance of May 18 and told Tamil Guardian why it needs to be commemorated:

"[May 18] was a genocide. And so, we gathered here to commemorate that day. Some people are fasting to pay tribute to the victims and Maaveerar. A lot of innocent civilians were murdered there. I was one of the people that were there. Participating in this [event] brings my mind some peace and I hope their souls can attain peace and honour the sacrifices of the Maaveerar.  It is our responsibility to show the next generation about what happened. Candles were lit and flowers were laid in tribute to those who lost their lives at Mullivaikkal by Tamils present at the demonstration."

To conclude the event, kanji was served to honour the victims and survivors of Mullivaikkal.

Kanji - a porridge of rice and water - was the only food available to the Tamils trapped in the conflict zone as Sri Lanka heavily restricted food and medicines into the Vanni. 

At the end of the event, those who were fasting since 10am, broke their fast and paid flower tributes at the Mullivakkal memorial stone. 

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