Tamils demonstrate as Rajapaksa lunches with the Queen

More than 1,000 exiled Tamil demon­strators gathered outside Marlborough House in London to protest against the attendance of the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at a Diamond Jubi­lee lunch with the Queen hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

President Rajapaksa has been widely accused by human rights groups of war crimes and human rights abuses dur­ing the civil war in Sri Lanka, as well as the continuing torture and mistreatment of Tamils. Meanwhile, the Tamil Tiger rebel group has also been accused of hu­man rights violations during the 26-year conflict, including attacking civilians and recruiting child soldiers.

Some demonstrators carried effigies of Rajapaksa that were burned outside the main gates in Pall Mall while the president greeted the Queen and other Commonwealth heads of state, includ­ing British Prime Minister David Cam­eron. Rajapaksa had been scheduled to speak before the Commonwealth Eco­nomic Forum earlier in the week but the event was cancelled due to fears of demonstrations and disruptions in the capital.


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