‘War criminal’, ‘terrorist’, ‘go home – Protest in Heathrow Airport

Tamil Solidarity meeting

Sat 23 June, ULU, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY

3-4pm young people discuss and plan action

4-5pm Where now for Eelam struggle – What’s the role for the diaspora? Open meeting with reports from Malaysia and Tamil Nadu


‘War criminal’, ‘terrorist’, ‘go home’ – a cacophony of angry chants reverberated around the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport as over 500 Tamils protested on the night of Sunday 3 June. The expected visitor who aroused such wrath? The butcher of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Among the crowd were Tamil Solidarity activists whose posters and leaflets were snatched up by the crowd. They clearly said: “Wanted for war crimes, not wanted in Britain”. We also distributed them among staff and non-Tamils in the airport to explain why the protest was so vociferous. The Sri Lankan government carried out a bloody massacre of Tamil people in 2009.

Channel 4’s recent Killing Fields documentaries graphically expose what took place. The military constantly bombed hospitals, schools, temporary shelters and so-called ‘no fire zones’. Every single one of 400,000 refugees was then taken to ‘detention camps’ with no proper facilities. Deaths and gross humanitarian abuses took place during the transportation and in the camps. In the aftermath, three years on, the need to fight for the rights of the Tamil-speaking people is as urgent as ever.

Outrageously the president and warmonger-in-chief, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was invited to attend the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

Rajapaksa was predictably a no-show but the protest evoked some of the passion and readiness to fight back from the mass protests of 2009. Importantly the past three years’ experience means lessons have been learned about who can and cannot be trusted to support the struggle. Capitalist politicians and their organisations such as the UN have failed utterly. Many of those at Heathrow, particularly young people, were very welcoming to Tamil Solidarity and now want to play active parts in building this important campaign.

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge