Tamil protesters want SL team out of T20 WC


Jun 04, 2009 at 01:18pm IST

London: A group of Tamil people protested the presence of Sri Lankan cricket team in the T20 World Cup in London and demanded their ouster from the tournament in the wake of alleged human rights violation by the island nation's army in its recent offensive against the LTTE.

The protest took place when Sri Lanka and South Africa were playing a warm-up match at the Lord's on Wednesday.

About 50 London-based Sri Lankans gathered outside the Wellington Road entrance and one of the placards they were holding, read, "Sri Lanka's latest score: 20,000 dead, 300,000 displaced".

BAD RECORD: Sri Lanka's poor human rights record includes not allowing international observers inside country.

Thusiyan Naneakumar, a spokesman for the protesters said, "The human rights issue is the only issue we are protesting over. The Sri Lankan human rights record is abominable. The government are not letting in any major aid agencies or any major media, there are 300,000 Tamils trapped in camps.

"How can the team come and play cricket representing a country that does this to its own people?," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Naneakumar criticised England for adopting double standards in human right violation matters.

"Last year England refused to play Zimbabwe because of their human rights record. They refused to play on moral grounds, and we feel it is hypocritical of them to play Sri Lanka, because the human rights situation in Sri Lanka is just as bad, if not worse. That's why we are making this protest, because we don't want them here," he added.

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