LTTE groups posed a threat to President’s life in London – Lalith W
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:June 13, 2012, 9:21 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The government believes that President Mahinda Rajapaksa ran the risk of being physically attacked by the UK-based LTTE activists during his recent visit to London to attend the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and have talks with British government leaders. There could even have been an attempt on the President’s life while he was being driven to the venues where he met the Royal family and other British dignitaries.
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, External Affairs Ministry’s monitoring MP, Sajin Vass Gunawardene, and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London, Dr. Chris Nonis told the media yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat that the extraordinary security provided to President Rajapaksa was indicative of the British government’s concern over threats the LTTE groups in London posed to the Sri Lankan leader.
In spite of tight security provided to President Rajapaksa, two suspicious-looking strangers, believed to be members of protesting LTTE groups, had been sighted in the hotel, where the President and his entourage were staying Weeratunga said.
"The British were alerted after our security contingent detected them."
In response to claims being made in some quarters that the President should not have visited London and exposed himself to humiliation and indignities at the hands of LTTE activists, the presidential secretary said that as the hosts of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2013) scheduled to be held in Colombo, the government couldn’t have turned down an invitation to attend the Queen’s Diamond jubilee. Claiming that the President’s London visit was a huge success, he accused a section of the media of covering the President’s London visit in a manner which was favourable to the LTTE.
Dr. Nonis said that in spite of a major LTTE effort targeting the presidential visit on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, the UK had made excellent security arrangements. The British government had also provided a separate bullet proof vehicle to President Rajapaksa in view of security threats.
The Queen hosted a lunch for Commonwealth leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron at the conclusion of last week’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. She was joined by more than 70 guests, including President Rajapaksa.
MP Gunawardena alleged as the Sri Lankan leader was driven in over 3,000 Diaspora protesters had surrounded the Marlborough House. He said that except the LTTE activists, all others had suspended their protests in compliance with a request by the British police. Gunawardena said that action by the LTTE groups should serve as a warning to the British that they were a threat not only to the visiting Sri Lankan head of State but also to British democracy. "The British authorities are amazed at their ability to bring large crowds at short notice," he said.
HC Nonis said the morning session of the Commonwealth Economic Forum organized by the Commonwealth Business Council was one of the seven events on the president’s agenda. He said the LTTE activists, having failed to thwart the President’s London visit by resorting to methods such as an e-mail and post-card campaign and lobbying of British politicians, had been compelled to settle for disrupting the Commonwealth Economic Forum. The President had attended every other scheduled event, including a private meeting with British Prime Minister, David Cameroon, at the Marlborough House before meeting the Queen also at the same venue. In spite of large scale protests at all venues, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, where a thanksgiving mass was held, the President has successfully completed his tour, Dr. Nonis said.
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