Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Fourth day of P2P protests marked in Vavuniya and Kilinochchi

For the fourth day, demonstrators continued their march for justice from Pottuvil to Polikandy (P2P), commencing their protests at the Vavuniya new bus stand and heading towards Mannar, on Saturday morning.  

Tamils and Muslims welcomed and joined protestors and went on to visit the Pandara Vanniyan statue and Grand Jummah Mosque.  

Protestors met with the families of the disappeared in front of the Vavuniya court, who have been carrying out their own protests, despite court bans. Tamil politicians and Muslim religious leaders visited them and heard their concerns.

After reaching the Mannar Madhu junction, protestors proceeded towards Murunkan through Mannar.

There was heavy police presence and road blocks at the Mannar main bridge, who announced the court order banning the protest through a loudspeaker, but demonstrators persisted through.

Sri Lankan police have continued their surveillance and intimidation of protesters by noting down their vehicle registrations. Protesters were only allowed entry into Mannar after providing their details to the police. Demonstrators mobilised together at the Thanthai (Father) Chelva statue.

Along with religious leaders, civil society organisations and local Tamil and Muslim supporters, many Tamil politicians were present at the protest on Saturday including Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, TNPF leader and MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, TNA MP Sivagnanam Sritharan, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah, Democratic People's Front (DPF) and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader and MP Mano Ganesan and Former Northern Provincial Council member Shivajilingam.

TNA member Ananthy Sasitharan questioned the crackdown by the Sri Lankan security forces on the peaceful P2P protest but not the protests by pro-government protestors.

“When they celebrate Independence Day, these coronavirus restriction or social distancing measures were not a concern. When MP Dayasiri [Jayasekara] came to Jaffna, a large group of people gathered there. Coronavirus was not even mentioned there. A group of people in support of the government protested gathered outside the court. No actions were taken against them by the police citing health reasons related to the coronavirus. But several restrictions are being imposed on the grounds of COVID-19 against the democratic protest we are undertaking. This has caused great dismay amongst the [Tamil] people. If this really is “one country one law” then it must be applied to all equally. On the contrary, we believe that it is being applied to Tamils in one way and in another way to the Sinhala chauvinists.”

 

TNPF leader and MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam commended the turnout for the protests and reiterated the demands of the protest.

 

“The public coming out in large numbers to participate in this protest is important. Tomorrow is the last day so in Jaffna we hope this protest will end in a great way. 10 years after the end of the war, Tamil rights have shifted on a negative trajectory. We hope the end of this protest will bring hope to our people and create awareness to a large scale. The international community is turning its attention towards Sri Lanka. We have to use this opportunity to demand justice and accountability for the Tamil genocide through the international Criminal Court or International Court of Justice investigation. They must recognise the Tamil nation and its right to self-determination, which will transform Sri Lanka to become a country with multiple nations. For this initiative to be carried, all people should come forward to allow this to succeed.  Muslim and progressive Sinhalese should collaborate and join us on this path and support us as we fight for what’s fair.”

 

TNA Media Secretary Pakkiyaselvam Ariyanethran hailed the united efforts to protest through the North-East.

 

“Following the creation of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) in 1949, we have seen many united protests. My elders have stated that such protests as today occurred in 1956. However, since then, whether it is peaceful protests, armed protests, government protests or the Mullivaikkal protests… but this is the first protest I’ve seen like this. This protest should tell the international community several news and they should pressure the Sri Lankan government to comment. The people of North-East deserve freedom, justice, and equal rights… that’s why we are fighting.”

 

The #P2P protestors marched through towards Kilinochchi and met with the families of the disappeared who concluded their one day hunger strike.

The demonstrators finished their 4th day of protests and will resume their protests on the 5th and final day to go towards Jaffna and conclude at Polikandy. They will start again from Kilinochchi depot junction tomorrow at 8 am.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.