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Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna disrupt local May Day plans with Vesak preparations

Sri Lankan soldiers have begun constructing installations to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak in the popular grounds where May Day rallies usually take place, forcing May Day rally organisers to find alternative locations this year.

The grounds near Jaffna Fort are also home to the World Tamil Conference Massacre memorial, and were the subject of local tension last year when a Buddhist monk was cremated there, despite local opposition.

The Sri Lankan government officially mandated that May Day would be commemorated on May 7 this year as the actual date clashes with the Vesak festival.

Although organisations and unions in Jaffna and across the Tamil North-East have said that May Day would be celebrated on the proper date of May 1st, the appropriation of public spaces by Sri Lankan military forces to set up Vesak celebrations have left Tamil unions limited in their ability to commemorate May Day.

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