HUNDREDS PROTEST AGAINST U.S. BACKING OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION

(REUTERS – 27TH FEB) In the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Monday (February 27), hundreds of demonstrators, led by ruling party local government councillors, marched to the United States embassyin protest against the U.S. decision to support a UN human rights resolution.

Protesters shouted anti-American slogans and held placards supporting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Some protesters carried placards with photographs of the president and his younger brother Gotabhaya who is secretary of the ministry of defence and is credited with ending the country’s civil war.

The Indian Ocean island nation, which ended its quarter century Tamil separatist war in May 2009, is under heavy pressure from western nations and international rights groups to investigate alleged war crimes in the final phase of the war.

Sri Lanka says the allegations are fabricated by the Tamil Tigers‘ overseas propaganda network, and that its soldiers acted in accordance with international law.

“Tamil diaspora and the LTTE sympathises, they are spreading false rumours, false statistics. We came to tell the truth,” retired Major General Roshan Soyza said on Monday as protesters marched on the U.S. embassy.

The U.S. earlier announced its decision to back a resolution at the Human Rights Council in Geneva asking the Rajapaksa government to submit a time table to implement recommendations made by a government appointed commission to improve good governance, human rights and reconciliation with minority Tamils.

“Without any political differences, religious differences, without any party politics, without any party political differences we have got together here and marched towards the embassy of the United States and we handed over a petition requesting and informing them not to do so,” Riaz Farook, a local government councillor from the ruling alliance, said.

Protesters marched towards the U.S. embassy in Colombo chanting “no bombs, no firing, we have peace in Sri Lanka, hands off Sri Lanka, let Sri Lanka enjoy the peace it won, let’s defeat the international conspiracies”.

Police set up barriers ahead of the U.S. embassy compound while U.S. officials watched from the rooftop.