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Tamils remember May 2009 massacre amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence officers

Updated 20 May 2015 23:48 GMT

 Students at the University of Jaffna light candles in memory of the tens of thousands who were massacred at the end of the armed conflict

Marking the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils at the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, Tamils across the world and in all districts of the Tamil homeland in the North-East came together in acts of remembrance.

Remembrance events took place in the North-East amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence and police officers, and a ban issued by court order in Mullaitivu restricting remembrance rallies by the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) and the Northern Provincial Councillor Ravikaran.

Whilst this year saw the most public display of remembrance since the end of the armed conflict, many Tamils in the North-East remained fearful of attending. Vehicles travelling towards events were stopped by security forces and those inside questioned. Reports even emerged that bus drivers were ordered by police officers not to refuse travel to those wishing to attended memorial events.

"Civilians largely kept away at this event as several Sri Lankan intelligence agents and police were watching those attending the ceremony. Even journalists covering the ceremony were followed and Sri Lankan security agents listened in as they interviewed civilians and politicians," AP news agency reported.

The TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran criticised the governement.

"The new government tells the international community that they are treating the Tamils with dignity. But they get court orders to prevent Tamils from remembering their dead," Mr Premachandran told AFP by phone from Mullivaikkal.

"What sort of democracy do they have? You can see how many police we have over here," he said.

Whilst Tamils grieved however, the Sri Lankan government held a military parade in celebration of the defeat of the Tamil armed resistance movement, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

See here for coverage of Sri Lanka's 'Armed Forces Day' celebration in Matara, on May 19th.


NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan at Mullivaikkal beach (Photo @ananthysasi)

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Sri Lankan minister warns against commemorating LTTE (13 May 2015)

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