Protests were held in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Colombo today, as International Women’s Day was marked across the island with Tamil women leading demonstrations.
In Mullatiivu, Tamil families of the disappeared led many by women held a protest demanding answers to the whereabouts of their loved ones. The rally is part of yet another demonstration held by the women.
Tamil families have been protesting on the roadsides of the North-East for more than 5 years, demanding justice for their disappeared relatives.
As the women marched today, plainclothes Sri Lankan officers were seen photographing them once more.
In Vavuniya, Tamil families of the disappeared based in the town also held a protest, demanding an international justice mechanism to find their loved ones.
Leaders from the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) also visited the protest site.
In Kilinochchi, relatives of the disappeared lined up along the A9 highway, holding photographs of their loved ones and reiterating their call for international justice.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) held an International Women’s Day event in the town earlier in the day.
And in Colombo, women plantation workers led protests against the refusal of some plantation companies to sign a Collective Agreement with the Workers Trade Unions, and accused them of having “actively perpetuated numerous violations of labour rights”.
“Workers are not getting the increased salary,” said a press release from the Red Flag Women’s Movement. “Payments of arrears are not made. The daily targets for workers to ensure they receive their wages for the day has been increased. On most estates, the local management are treating the workers badly, with imminent risk of losing their jobs. Labour department and other problem-solving mechanisms have closed down.”
Read the full statement here.