Sujeeva Nivunhella reporting from London
The Pro-LTTE demonstration held against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow was an utter failure, according to independent political observers.
Since the conference centre and the surrounding areas have been considered as high-security areas, demonstrators could not go anywhere near the President. A few people protested in front of the hotel where the President was staying. Unlike in 2010 and 2012 where they managed to bring people in thousands and attracted British media attention, this time around they have failed miserably.
Talking to the Sunday Island with anonymity, a member of the Tamil diaspora community in the UK said that educated Tamil people in the UK are now staying away from the pro-LTTE activities and only a few people who have got asylum cases with the Home Office attend these to support their cases.
President of the SLFP UK Branch, Lasantha Perera said that those LTTE sypmathisers expected disgruntled Sinhalese and Muslim people to join hands with them against the President but they could not muster their support.
In the meantime, Global Sri Lankan Forum published a full page paid advertisement in “The Herald”, a highly circulated newspaper in Scotland supporting President Rajapaksa. It highlighted Sri Lanka’s track record of environmental sustainability. It also mentioned Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process after the war. It said that the government has already resettled over 300,000 internally displaced people and over 12,000 LTTE Cadres including 600 child soldiers forcibly conscripted into its ranks by the LTTE have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
It also used some positive quotes about Sri Lanka from Lord Naseby, ICRC head Paul Castella, Major General John Holmes, Col. Anton Gash former Defence Attache, British High Commission in Colombo and Sir Desmond de Silva QC.
It quoted from President Rajapaksa’s address at the UN General Assembly in September, “It is my Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable and secure future for all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender. We are ready to engage with all domestic stakeholders and to obtain the support of our international partners and the United Nations in this process.”