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Sri Lankan team targeted by tamil protests

Published: Thursday, June 4, 2009, 13:17 [IST]
 
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Tamil protest at Lords

London: A group of Tamil protesters gathered outside at historic Lord's ground and demanded ouster of Lankan team from the tournament in the wake of alleged human rights violation by the Sri Lankan army in its recent offensive against the LTTE.

Team Sri Lanka was playing their World Twenty20 warm-up match against South Africa at Lord's on Wednesday.

Protesters were armed with placards condemning the Sri Lankan government's "human rights abuses". One read, "Sri Lanka's latest score: 20,000 dead, 300,000 displaced".

Thusiyan Naneakumar, a spokesman for the protesters said, "The human rights issue is the only issue we are protesting over. The Sri Lankan human rights record is abominable. The government are not letting in any major aid agencies or any major media, there are 300,000 Tamils trapped in camps.

"How can the team come and play cricket representing a country that does this to its own people?," he said.

Naneakumar came down heavily on England for adopting double standards in human right violation matters.

"Last year England refused to play Zimbabwe because of their human rights record. They refused to play on moral grounds, and we feel it is hypocritical of them to play Sri Lanka, because the human rights situation in Sri Lanka is just as bad, if not worse. Thats why we are making this protest, because we dont want them here," he added.

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But Sri Lanka team manager Brendon Kuruppu said: "We have come here to play cricket and the boys are really focusing on the game.

"Everyone has their own view and the political side of things is being handled by the government.

"We are here for cricket, not politics. Cricket unifies all races and religions and we are a united team."

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