Protest escalates in Sri Lanka over UN panel

08:07, July 09, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The protest in front of the United Nations' Sri Lankan office escalated on Thursday with Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa commencing a death fast to demand the abolition of an advisory panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on alleged war crimes during the last stages of the island's military conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Wimal Weerawansa is also the leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), a government ally which has been protesting since Tuesday in front of the UN office in Colombo.

"We will continue until Mr. Ban decided to disband the panel," Weerawansa said.

He said talks and diplomatic approach would not solve the issue and pressure must be brought upon to reverse the decision.

Weerawansa lied inside a temporary tent in front of the UN office in downtown Colombo, while scores of NFF supporters sitting on the ground in front of the tent.

The gates of the UN office remain closed, but vehicles are allowed to go in and outside the UN compound.

"The protest is peaceful, but we are worrying about Weerawansa' s health condition," said Wasntha Bandara, general secretary of the National Patriotic Movement.

Bandara said Weerawansa has refused to drink water since Thursday morning, which is very dangerous in a tropical country like Sri Lanka.

The protest began on Tuesday when NFF activists blocked the UN office gates and staged a noisy demonstration.

The Sri Lankan government said Thursday that it is seeking a rapid end to the crisis resulting from the protest outside the UN office in Colombo.

However, Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said the government will not obstruct any peaceful protest.

Peiris said it was the democratic right of any group to stage a peaceful protest and on that basis there will not be any attempt to obstruct the fast unto death by Weerawansa outside the UN office.

He added that the government had also assured the UN over the safety and security of the UN staff in Colombo.

Ban stated that the appointment of the panel, headed by former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, was in agreement with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a claim denied by the government.

【1】 【2】


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
  • Arash Kamalvand (L) of Iran spikes the ball during the semifinal against South Korea at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 28, 2011. Iran won 3-1 to advance to the final. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
Hot Forum Discussion