Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tamil protests greet Mahinda Rajapakse at Queen's luncheon

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse was forced to cancel a speech in the City of London Wednesday after more than 3000 Tamil protestors converged on a Jubilee event attended by the Queen.

President Rajapakse was attending a luncheon in honour of the Queen organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat and attended by Commonwealth heads of state and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The more than 70 guests were greeted by angry scenes as they arrived at Marlborough House in Central London.

Several effigies of Rajapakse were burned as the crowd protested his presence at the meal citing alleged war crimes committed by government forces in the final days of the country's Civil War in 2009.

Mr Rajapakse was jeered as he swept through the main gate in a Range Rover.
His car did not carry a flag because of security concerns.

Mr Rajapakse had earlier been forced to cancel an appearance as keynote speaker at a £800-per-head event organized by the Commonwealth Economic Forum in the City.

The Queen spent a brief moment with Mr Rajapakse and appeared to fleetingly shake hands with him as she met guests at the pre-lunch reception.

The protests come after a Sri Lankan man, who was left scarred and suicidal after two weeks of torture, accused the British government of forcibly deporting asylum seekers who are then tortured in Sri Lanka.
The victim told the Guardian newspaper he was tortured over the space of 17 days after being deported from the UK last year.

His torturers accused him of passing on to British officials information about previous beatings at the hands of state officials and other human rights abuses to ruin diplomatic relations between the two countries.
- UKAsian Staff

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