Show of solidarity in Malaysia defies state repression of protests and breaks information blackout

Reports : Maha Ramakrishnan
21 April
End repression in Sri Lanka
For an independent international investigation into war crimes

On 21 April Tamil Solidarity Malaysia and a Malaysian Tamil NGO called Malaysian Tamil Progressive Association staged a peaceful protest in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, in a place called Little India. This could be the first step in a new stage of solidarity building.

Despite undemocratic legislation making protests difficult to organise around 30 protesters joined the hour long protest, with more than 100 people watching. The protest was held to create awareness among Malaysians that the recent US resolution, passed at the UNHRC, will not get justice for the Sri Lankan Tamils.

During the protest speeches were given by 5 protesters. They explained that the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka does not address the war crimes, crimes against humanity and the genocide committed by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil civilians. The urgent case was made for an independent international investigation into these crimes. A press conference, attended by 2 Tamil newspaper reporters, took place afterwards.

Speaking to some people who were watching the protest, they seemed surprised to hear that some detention camps are still in operation and colonisation of Tamil areas in Sri Lanka is taking place. This is because the mainstream English newspapers and the Malaysian TV news channels are silent on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue or if they report on Sri Lanka news, it is always to report favourably about the Sri Lankan government. Only those who read about Sri Lanka on the internet or those who read Tamil newspapers in Malaysia know what is happening in Sri Lanka and a majority of Malaysian Tamils cannot read Tamil.