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Thousands protest against Sinhala colonisation in Mullaitivu

Thousands of Tamils demonstrated in Mullaitivu this morning, calling for an end to Sinhalisation and land grabs in the region.

In particular protestors demanded a halt in the spread of state sponsored Sinhala settlements in Mullaitivu, which have taken place under the Mahaweli system settlements.

Politicians from both the TNA and TNPF were present at the rally, which was organised by the Anti-Mahaweli Tamils' Heritage Forum.

A large number of Sri Lankan police officers were seen deployed around the protest route. 

In a statement explaining the long-standing state sponsored colonisation of the area, the Anti-Mahaweli Tamils' Heritage Forum said that Sri Lankan government assisted in the settlement of 6000 Sinhalese families Mahaweli zone of Mullaitivu in lands belonging to Tamils who were chased away in 1984. 

The issue of Sinhalisation has been raised by Tamil politicians repeatedly, with the Northern Provincial Council staging a protest earlier this year.

The protest comes as the Mahaweli authority issued land permits to Sinhalese settlers that have been squatting on Tamil-owned land in Mullaitivu last week.

Earlier this month the huts and boats of Tamil fishermen were torched in what locals believe was a reprisal attack by Sinhalese settlers after protests calling for action against illegal fishing by Sinhala fishermen.