Saturday 25 April - March against the racist Sri Lankan Government Newcastle

Saturday 25 April - March against the racist Sri Lankan Government Newcastle

The monotony of weekend shopping was broken, when onlookers stopped to watch as over 150 people marched through Newcastle City centre, as part of a series demonstration called by Tamils in Britain.

The Tamil protests followed the killing of over 2,800 Tamil men,women and children in the first two months of 2009 alone, this as part of the Sri Lankan governments 'final' offensive to crush the resistance of the Tamil people. After peaceful and democratic means to redress oppression in civil liberties, language, culture, education, jobs and occupation of Tamil territory where met with brutal military suppression spanning a 30year period, in 1976 Tamils finally took up arms in the fight for survival and self-determination. Since the beginning of 2008, following the Sri Lankan governments unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement, signed in 2002 between the government and the Tamil Tigers, military aggression against the resistance and the Tamil people was ramped up.

The March finished at the moment with a rally , with speeches and chants. Chants were tirelessly throughout the rally by Tamil women with a wide range of slogans including “Tamil Tigers – Freedom fighter.” Over the four hours chant's were interspersed with speeches including FRFI, who after offering messages of solidarity to Tamils involved in protest that took place the week prior went to make the links between British Imperialism and the oppression of the Tamil people when she said “But Britain and the British Labour party still has blood on its hands even now; it is responsible for licensing £7 million worth of weapons and military equipment for export to Sri Lanka this year alone. Britain is profiting from selling arms to Sri Lanka which are directly being used to kill Tamils right now!” show the Britains role in Sri Lanka is not confined to its colonial past, but is an ever present reality British Imperialism.

Few, if any, passers by were left in doubt why the Tamils and supporters where there. With two enormous helium balloons carrying slogans and Tamil flags or the banners, placards and chants on three or so megaphones made sure the demonstration was lively, militant and energetic.


Resisting immigration snatch squads in Tyneside

On 20 January Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) held a militant march through Newcastle to protest against deportations of asylum seekers and to launch its Pledge of Resistance to snatch squads. A rally in the city centre was addressed by asylum seekers from Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia, together with speakers from TCAR, FRFI, Newcastle Stop the War and the Jesus Army. The Pledge of Resistance was read out and received enthusiastically. We reproduce an edited text of the Pledge below.

The Pledge of Resistance
Seeking asylum is not a crime! Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Legal aid for asylum claims has been cut back to a five-hour standard, which makes it impossible for solicitors to adequately prepare a case. The time allowed for submitting an appeal has been reduced to 10 days, with 10 hours legal aid, and the right to a second appeal to an immigration tribunal has been withdrawn. Under this system 81% of asylum seekers are being refused. Now the government proposes to withdraw the right even to a first appeal as long as asylum seekers remain in Britain. Under the ‘New Asylum Model’ applications are ‘fast-tracked’ to the point where as little as 1% of applications are successful, and the time limit for submitting an appeal is four days.

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North East Events

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