A day of turmoil and violence in Sri Lanka

As many as 8 people have been killed and more than 200 injured after a bloody day of violence in Sri Lanka, which saw homes of parliamentarians torched and mobs roaming across the Sinhala south. The violence began as regime supporters gathered at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan prime minister, to listen to Mahinda Rajapaksa deliver an address. After he spoke, pro-government crowds attacked protestors outside the residence, before marching to Galle Face and further assaulting protestors there. As opposition leader Sajith Premadasa arrived at Galle Face, he was also attacked by mobs.

Still searching for Stephen Sunthararaj

On this day 13 years ago, Stephen Sunthararaj, an activist who had exposed the trafficking of Tamil children into international prostitution rings, was abducted and forcibly disappeared in Colombo by armed men in military uniforms. As part of his work he had told the then United States Ambassador in Colombo about prostitution rings run by government aligned paramilitaries in Jaffna. The paramilitaries were trafficking children into sex rings in India and Malaysia with the help of immigration officials.

'I want to see them once before I die' - a Tamil mother's final words

In 2008, Thangarasa Selvarani’s son Thangarasa Thayaparan, then aged 28, was taken by the Sri Lankan army in front of her eyes. It was 7 days after the birth of his child. He was sleeping outside their home in Cheddikulam, Vavuniya, after a day of wage labour, loading sand into trucks. Selvarani told him to sleep inside, it was dark and the barking of the street dogs was out of character. He said it was too hot, and he wanted to sleep outside. At around 9pm, Selvarani heard a cry and went outside to see that around 30 or 40 soldiers had rounded the house and were carrying her son off. He...

May Day marked across Tamil homeland with calls for justice and demilitarisation

May Day rallies were held across the Tamil homeland yesterday, with calls for the abolition of Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), demilitarisation of the North-East, the release of Tamil political prisoners and an international justice and accountability mechanism. Rallies were held in Mannar, Batticaloa and Kilinochchi amongst other towns across the North-East. Both major Tamil political parties, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) held events, with both flying red and yellow banners and streamers – traditional Tamil national colours. See...

Record level of British Tamils run for local election

On 5 May, British citizens will be heading to the polls to vote for their local councillors however this year there is an unprecedented number of Tamil candidates to choose from. Tamil Guardian has spoken to a selection of these candidates from across the political spectrum ahead of the election to better understand what they are offering to their constituents.

Sri Lankan security forces shoot dead protestor whilst others remain critical

Sri Lankan security forces have fired at protestors in Rambukkana, leading to at least one person being confirmed dead and several others in critical condition. There are fears that the death toll may rise, with the number of injured people estimated to be at approximately 12. The deceased man has since been identified as a former member of the United National Party's Youth Wing. Mihiri Priyangani, director of the Kegalle Teaching Hospital, told Reuters that they could not yet confirm the exact cause of death of the man but they "are suspecting gunshot injuries". The killing would be the...

Abductions, murders and prostitution rings – The story of Douglas Devananda, who is still a Sri Lankan minister

As Sri Lanka’s embattled president looks to reshuffle his cabinet in a bid to quell ongoing anti-government protests, one position remains entirely unchanged from before the demonstrations began – the appointment of Douglas Devavanda as Sri Lanka’s fisheries minister. Devananda heads the notorious Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), a paramilitary organisation that continues to remain close to the ruling Rajapaksa regime . Devananda, was elected to Parliament in 1994 and aligned with the government as it battled against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and launched multiple...

The racists who joined Sri Lanka’s anti-government protest

As the anti-government protest continues at Sri Lanka’s Galle Face Green, a host of Sinhala celebrities, from cricketers to musicians and politicians have joined the demonstration. However, social media users have quickly spotted a few familiar faces, from those who have previously been staunch supporters of the Rajapaksas, to racists and homophobes. We look briefly at a few of them who have been seen at the Galle Face protest over the last week.

British lawmakers call for stringent conditions on IMF bailout as Sri Lanka defaults

As crisis-stricken Sri Lanka reluctantly turns to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for urgent financial assistance this month, dozens of parliamentarians have urged Britain to use its influence at the global institution to attach conditions that will ensure there is deeper-rooted change and political stability on the island. The day before Sri Lanka declared it would be unable to repay US$ 51 billion in international debt, a group of 90 British lawmakers urged the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer to add conditions on any IMF assistance that may be granted, “to put the country on the path of economic recovery”.

13 years today - Thousands of British Tamils occupy Parliament Square as Sri Lanka shells No Fire Zone

13 years ago today, thousands of British Tamils continuously occupied Parliament Square in London for 72 days as Sri Lanka intensifed its military offensive which led to the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils in Mullivaikkal. An unprecedented number of British Tamils staged a sit in protest at Parliament Square following two weeks of of protests outside the Houses of Parliament to demand international action to end the Sri Lankan government's war efforts which targetted civilians in the so-called 'No Fire Zones'. Below is an extract from an eyewitness account: The occupation itself...

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