A hartal is being carried out across the North-East today, as Tamils were joined by Muslims and others across the region as they protested Sri Lankan attempts to ban the commemoration of those who gave their lives for Tamil rights and ongoing intimidation. This is the most wide-spread protest in Sri Lanka since Rajapaksa took power last year.
The hartal - a day long shutdown - took place despite intimdation from the Sri Lankan security forces, with reports that traders were threatened to continue business as normal.
See photographs from across the North-East below.
One of Tamil Guardian's Mullaitivu correspondent said the shutdown had been observed widely across the region, with Muslim communities also joining the protest. They too have faced a ramping up of intimidation and harassment from the Sri Lankan security forces, which has sharply stepped up its presence in the region.
“The number of checkpoints in Mullaitivu has steadily increased over the past few months,” our correspondent said. “There is a real sense of fear that the army can shoot you and get away with it. People are voicing their opposition to their presence.”
Chunnakam Central Market Complex, Jaffna
Point Pedro, Jaffna
Five Junction Area Jaffna
Muslim-owned establishments in the Five Junction area of Jaffna shut down in solidarity with today's hartal.
Vavuniya Market Complex
According to Tamil Guardian journalists in Vavuniya, Sri Lankan police and Intelligence officials entered Vavuniya's Bazar today and ordered the reopening of closed trading centres and shops using loudspeakers. Despite this, staff and owners defied their orders and did not open their shops. Tamil and Muslim businessmen in Vavuniya are fully cooperating in the wide-scale hartal.
More to follow.
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