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UPDATED: 19:31, September 21, 2005
Sri Lanka Tamil minority opposes extension of state emergency
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Legislators representing the Tamil minority opposed the motion to extend the state of emergency in Sri Lanka's parliament here Wednesday.

The state of emergency gives sweeping powers to security forces to detain and question people and restrict public rallies and processions.

The Tamil Tiger proxy political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs along with a few other legislators from the opposition parties voted against the motion to extend the emergency until Oct. 13.

Tamils maintained that the security forces could use the regulations to harass the Tamil community.

The motion, however, was approved with 124 voting for and 18 against with the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) joining together voting in favor.

The UNP's deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya said emergency would impede the process of free and fair presidential elections, which will be hold on Nov. 17.

Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, the deputy defense minister, assured that some of the regulations would be relaxed to allow election gatherings and propaganda work.

Source: Xinhua

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