Tamils in Jaffna protested carrying black flags on Wednesday ahead of the visit by the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena and the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Friday for the traditional Tamil festival of Thai Pongal.
Holding black flags as a sign of their ongoing oppression, the protesters which included families of the disappeared and detained, put forward five key demands.
- Justice for the genocide and war crimes committing during the armed conflict
- A solution to the Tamil national question that is mediated by a third party
- Thousands of acres of Tamil people's land is currently occupied by the military. This needs to stop immediately.
- The government needs to provide an answer to where are the nearly 20,000 missing? Where are the around 14,000 Tamil people who were forcibly disappeared? Where are the around 6000 LTTE cadres and their families who were detained at the end of the armed conflict?
- There must be an amnesty granted for the 217 political prisoners who are currently detained, or they must be rehabilitated and returned to their homes.
The protesters included Northern Provincial Council members, Ananthy Sasitharan and M K Shivajilingham, as well as the Tamil National People's Front secretary, S Kajendran.