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Hundreds protest at LHR, Rajapaksa's arrival unconfirmed

Published 03:00 BST. Updated 10:40 BST

Hundreds of Tamils flooded into the Arrivals lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 on Sunday night, as reports of flight UL503, said to be carrying Mahinda Rajapaksa, emerged.

Carrying placards and banners denouncing him as a war criminal and shouting chants urging the British government and the British monarch not to invite him into the country, protesters filled the arrivals lounge.

Rajapaksa's arrival remains unconfirmed however. One source told Tamil Guardian that Scotland Yard's Community Liaison team were stating that he had not arrived, whilst protesters informed Tamil Guardian that police officers on the ground had announced he was not on flight UL503.


Speaking to Tamil Guardian, one protester who wished to remain anonymous fearing for the safety of her family in the North-East, said,

"There was a flight from Sri Lanka, UL503, that was said to have Rajapaksa on it, but don't know, the police keep trying to divert people by saying he isn't here, but that was what they said last time [protest at Heathrow in Nov 2010 at Rajapaksa's arrival] too."

Updated 10:40 BST:

Reports continue to be unconfirmed. Whilst the Daily Mirror has announced his arrival, one source told Tamil Guardian that diplomatic insiders have stated he is yet to arrive. Other reports state that the police have unofficially stated he is yet to arrive. 

There remains much speculation over his accommodation whilst in UK too with some reports suggesting The Dorchester, due to its close proximity to the Sri Lankan High Commission, and others suggesting the Park Lane Hilton.  

For live updates follow us on Twitter.  

One thing remains very clear - Rajapaksa and his delegation have gone to great lengths in an attempt to avoid this reception:

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