LTTE sympathizers arrested in Oxford



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Three Tamil diaspora demonstrators were arrested by the Thames Valley Police outside the Oxford Union Building.


The incident took place on October 08, after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed members of the Oxford Students Union on ‘Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean.’


Admission to such events is restricted to Oxford Union members (students), holders of Bod and Brookes cards (types of Oxford student cards) or by invitation from the President of the Union, besides the Speaker of the day.


The audience amounted to around 300 comprising students, the Prime Minister’s spouse, some officials from the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, and members of Wickremesinghe's delegation and his media personnel.


The address and Q&A session lasted just under one hour. While confirming GoSL co-sponsored UNHRC Resolution 30/1, Wickremesinghe stated, "At the moment we don’t feel there is a need for foreign input into these investigations." He also confirmed the formation of the Truth and Justice Commission.


A group of around 25 British Tamils, some sporting Prabhakaran T-shirts and holding Tamil Eelam flags, made their presence felt by noisily demonstrating outside the venue of the event. A banner displaying ‘Sri Lanka! Where are our forcefully disappeared loved ones’ was to be seen.


Meanwhile, an unknown person lodged a complaint with the Police from the Thames Valley County, of demonstrators displaying material proscribed under counter-terrorism legislation.


Britain's Terrorism Act 2000 Part II Offenses Section 13 states; "A person in a public place commits an offense if he (a) wears an item of clothing, or (b) wears, carries or displays an article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organization. "


As a result, Police on location took into custody, three of the demonstrators including Sokkalingam Yogalinam, Deputy Minister for Sports and Community Health in the self-appointed outfit Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGET).


Tamil demonstrators, in the past, have carried out demonstrations in London for decades displaying such material, including that on February 04, 2018, when Defense Attaché Brigadier Priyanka Fernando made a gesture which was interpreted as a throat-cutting gesture and led to his recall. However, the London Metropolitan Police have continuously opted to turn a blind eye by ignoring Section 13 of Britain’s Terrorism Act.


This is the first time Police in Britain have reacted to the public display of LTTE clothing and material promoting the proscribed terrorist outfit. Efforts were underway by the LTTE supporters to secure the release of those arrested by pressuring their local MPs.


RAJEEWA JAYAWEERA


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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