Tamils March for the Release of Captives

Organisers the British Tamil Formum estimate that  100,000 Tamils marched through London today from Hyde Park to Temple Place, calling for justice in Sri Lanka and a separate Tamil state there. The march was led by a group of ‘detainees’ in a barbed wire prison camp to dramatise the terrible conditions of civilians held in internment camps and demanded their immediate release as well as full UN access to the camps.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

Some also carried photographs of their relatives who have been killed or who have disappeared and demanded that the Sri Lankan government and army be tried for war crimes, as well as calling for economic sanctions, an arms embargo and the suspensiotn of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.

Some in the demonstration carried black flags, but many showed their support for the banned LTTE (Tamil Tigers) with flags and t-shirts.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

The march was certainly more than 2 km long, as when I was with the head of it in Trafalgar Square a police officer I was standing beside received a message saying that it was still coming out of Park Lane. The front was moving slowly (it isn’t easy to walk with a concentration camp) and the people behind were generally fairly tightly packed across the whole eastbound carriageway of Picadilly and down Lower Regent St, so I think that the BBC figure of 20,000 was probably a considerable under-estimate. By the time I went home just after 4pm, crowds were still streaming past onto the Victoria Embankment.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

More pictures on My London Diary.

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