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'We have orders to shoot' - Sri Lankan police threaten Tamils gathering in Mullaitivu

As Tamils gather across the North-East to commemorate the tens of thousands of Tamils massacred in Mullivaikkal, footage has emerged of Sri laankan police threatening to shoot those gathering in Mullaitivu earlier today.

The police are filmed stating:

This is Mullaitivu police announcement.

Listen carefully, According to Section 2 of the Public Safety, state of emergency has been declared across Sri Lanka from May 6th. 

Permission has been denied to go out without a permit, to walk in the streets, on the beach, in public places, on the grounds and to gather. Violators will be prosecuted.

And robbery, state and private property damage, and those engaging in chaos should stop immediately. 

We remind you we have shooting order as well!

Tamils gather in Mullaitivu to commemorate the dead

Read more here: Kanji served in the North-East as Mullivaikkal remembrance week begins

The police patrol follows an explosion of violence in Colombo where supporters of the Rajapaksa clashed with anti-government demonstrators resulting in hundreds injured and the deaths of at least 8 people. The houses and vehicles of government-aligned politicians were also set alight. The military has been ordered to shoot anyone 'looting public property or causing harm to others'. An island-wide curfew has been imposed.

Following the armed conflict, which saw genocidal violence and a litany of war crimes, the Sri Lankan military moved to entrench its occupation of the North-East and to criminalise memorial activities.

UN Special Rapporteur on promoting truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, has detailed a denial of Tamil suffering by state officials. Sri Lankan officials are “preventing people from accessing or building memorials or from carrying out memorialization activities or occupying their space with memorials they do not identify with”, his report noted.

He further detailed that:

“Grieving families have expressed the need to bury or destroy photographs of their deceased loved ones in uniform for fear of harassment by the security forces”.

The rapporteur notes that this dynamic of denying victims a chance to memorialise their experience is “retraumatizing and alienating”.

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