Thousands protest Sri Lankan conflict

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Demonstrators in Bern and Geneva this weekend call for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

GENEVA - Nearly 1,000 demonstrators in the Swiss capital of Bern called Saturday for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka and for Switzerland to do more to secure it, the ATS agency reported.

The rally in front of Bern's federal palace came one day after at least 14,000 Tamils from Switzerland and other parts of Europe demonstrated in front of the United Nations' European headquarters in Geneva.

In Friday’s demonstration, one of the largest on the square in front of the UN in recent years, banners decried "30 years of state terrorism against the Tamils" and asked why the UN "has not stopped genocide".

A young Tamil living in Britain burnt himself to death on the square earlier in February in a solitary protest against the long-running Sri Lankan conflict, in which the country's military recently earned several victories.

"I believe that the situation in Sri Lanka is grave. I believe that the situation in Sri Lanka deserves concern", UN Human Rights Council head Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi of Nigeria told journalists on Friday.

It was up to member states to call a special debate on the situation in Sri Lanka, he said.

Fighting between the two sides caused international concern for the safety of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone, with the military approaching and surrounding the rebels.

Tens of thousands of people died since the Tigers launched a campaign in 1972 to establish a Tamil homeland.

[AFP / Expatica]

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