Protesters in Jaffna marked the 38th anniversary of Black July, the horrific anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 when thousands of Tamils were killed by Sinhala mobs backed by the then UNP government and state forces.
The protest, organised by the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), remembered the victims of the massacre and reiterated ongoing calls for an international investigation into the numerous episodes of violence against Tamils in the North-East and across the island.
During the anti-Tamil pogroms, Sinhala mobs targeted Tamil homes and businesses, looting and ransacking their property. Driven from their homes, particularly in Colombo, over 3,000 Tamils were massacred, whilst thousands more were effectively deported by the state to the North-East.
The protesters also paid tribute to the 53 prisoners who were slaughtered by Sinhala inmates at Welikada prison whilst prison guards stood idly by.
On the 25th July 1983 Sellarasa “Kuttimani” Yogachandiran, leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and Ganeshanathan Jeganathan, a political writer, had their eyes gouged out in mockery before being killed by Sinhalese inmates at the high security Welikada prison in Colombo. A total of 37 Tamil prisoners were murdered the same day, and 18 more were killed two days later.
Demonstrators also called on the Sri Lankan government to provide information to the families of the disappeared, regarding their relatives who were forcibly disappeared by the state's security forces and paramilitary forces.