Thursday, 29 January 2009

Hunger Strike enters day two – Protest continues against Sri Lankan Genocide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 29 January 2009 (Via

A hunger strike calling upon the Australian government to support calls for a unilateral cease-fire in war torn Sri Lanka, enters its second day in Sydney’s CBD.

Organised by the Australian Tamil Students (ATS), a national coalition of tertiary students, the protest aims to bring light to the intolerable silence and lack of international condemnation to the unfolding genocide in Sri Lanka.

Backed by hundreds of supporters, members of the Sri Lankan community continue to maintain their “Fast Until Action” campaign in Martin Place, in an attempt to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka amidst intensified bombing by Government forces on territory held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

The protestors, who have unequivocally stated that they will continue to fast until the Australian Government responds to its demands, remain optimistic and determined, despite sweltering heat, with temperatures reaching above 30 degrees.

“Our determination remains as strong as ever. The response from the public has been amazing, now we ask Kevin Rudd to share the sentiments of concern and anger as expressed the public and support our demand for a ceasefire”. - Sriharan Manoharan, ATS member and co-organiser.

The campaign comes only days after the Sri Lankan military is said to have killed 300 Tamil civilians in an agreed “safety zone”, where government ministers had earlier instructed people to take shelter, promising safe refuge.

The participants are calling on the Australian government to condemn the attacks on civilian populations and support calls for a ceasefire, as aid organisations and some other governments have.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) describes the ground situation as a humanitarian crisis, with over 250,000 civilians trapped in area’s under military bombardment, without adequate food, shelter and medical supplies: “People are being caught in the crossfire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling…When the dust settles, we may see countless victims and a terrible humanitarian situation”. ICRC’s Jacques de Maio,

Organisers anticipate widespread media interest throughout the day, and have ensured doctors are on standby amidst warnings of a searing heat wave expected to hit this afternoon.

Weblog of Protests -

Media Contacts:

Mr Myuran Elango - 0411 290 413

Dr Sam Pari - 0433 428 967

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