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France/Sri Lanka

Paris police end Tamil sit-in

Article published on the 2009-05-14 Latest update 2009-05-14 15:32 TU

Tamils demonstrate at Paris's Place du Trocadéro in April(Photo: Tony Cross)

Tamils demonstrate at Paris's Place du Trocadéro in April
(Photo: Tony Cross)

Police in Paris on Wednesday forced Sri Lankan Tamil demonstrators to end a protest camp on the city's Place de la République after 16 days. The demonstrators have moved their protest against the Sri Lankan government's offensive against Tamil Tiger separatists to another venue.

The police had allowed Tamil demonstrators to camp out in two tents on the massive square in eastern Paris since 27 April. Two activists who are observing a hunger strike were housed in the tents, along with supporters.

But, after a sit-in on Tuesday night, riot police cleared the demonstrators out of the square.

"Two Tamil women told me that last night a coach had been burned there, and that was the justification for asking them to go," reports RFI's Rosslyn Hyams, who visited the square as the demonstrators were leaving. "But they say it wasn't the Tamils who did it. Another said they hadn't got authorisation to stay any longer."

Police told the daily freesheet 20 Minutes that there was no connection between the incident and the demonstration but that the protesters had to be moved to avoid possible violence.