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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2640

Sri Lankans protest in front of UNESCO in Paris

Paris, 21 December, (Asiantribune.com): Large number of Sri Lankans in France held a demonstration in front of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on yesterday afternoon to protest against the statement made by Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO, condemning the air strike on LTTE radio station, Voice of Tigers.

Coordinator of the protest, Manel Gunaeardane of the French Committee of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) handed over a letter addressed to Mr Matsuura demanding immediate retraction of his statement. The letter was accepted by the Deputy Security Chief of UNESCO.

Braving the bitter winter cold winds, many Sri Lankans in Paris continued the two hour long protest until such time the employees left the UNESCO headquarters in late afternoon. “Director General of UNESCO has no business interfering in our legitimate right to fight terrorism," Mr Gunawardane said.

"It is wrong for him to describe VoT as a civilian media service. It is nothing but a propaganda arm of a terrorist organization banned by most important members of the United Nations including all member nations of the European Union. We have to be vigilant against such conspiracies against our motherland," he said.

"UNESCO has no right to interfere in Sri Lanka's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity," a participant at the protest said. "Sri Lanka has a right to fight terrorists and it is for the military to select LTTE targets and an attack them and no international body should challenge that right. Only armed LTTE cadres are allowed inside VoT or any Tiger office in Kilinochchi. The forces have every right to attack a radio propagating terrorism".

"UNESCO is an organization for cultural and educational activities and it has no mandate to interfere in politics," a spokesman pointed out. "Matsuura's statement is an indirect support to terrorism" he said.

Sri Lankans in France are shocked over the UNESCO's unwarranted condemnation of the Sri Lankan Air Force attack on VoT. "While DG of UNESCO condemned the air strike, the international community ignored the attack because VoT is a clandestine terrorist propaganda machine and not a genuine media institution," he said.

He pointed out that even VoT Director acknowledged in an interview ith the LTTE website Tamilnet that the response from the international community was lacking. Director of VoT Thamizhanpan said that VoT is drafting a letter thanking UNESCO for their statement.

The spokesman said that VoT Director's statement shows that Director General of UNESCO has taken the side of a terrorist organization while the rest of the world ignored the air strike, as publicly admitted by Thamizhanpan. "That is why we are protesting in front of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris," a protestor said.

- Asian Tribune -

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