Sri Lankans in the cities worst affected by recent separatist clashes were at the end of July taking steps to protect themselves against more ethnic violence.
COLOMBO (JULY 27) (MUTE) (ARD):
GVs City with smoke in distance (2 shots)
SV PULL BACK TO GV People in queue
SV Troops patrolling streets
TRACKING SHOT Street with burnt out shops; petrol queues (2 shots)
NEW DELHI (JULY 28) (SOUND) (PRAKASH):
GVs Tamil MPs march towards Sri Lanka High Commission
SVs Demonstrators chanting and being held back by police (3 shots)
GV Armed guard around High Commission
SV Demonstrators chanting, waving flags and banners as police watch (3 shots)
COLOMBO (JULY 29): (BBC VIA EUROVISION)
SCU INTERIOR President Junius Jayawardene of Sri Lanka speaking (SOT)
TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE NINE) -- PRESIDENT JAYAWARDENE: "The Sinhalese will never agree to the division of a country which has been a united nation for two thousand five hundred years. At first this movement of separation was non-violent, but since 1976 it became violent. Violence increased and innocent people were murdered -- members of (indistinct) that hundreds had been killed during this movement. Because of this violence by the terrorist the Sinhalese people themselves have reacted. I feel that the movement for separation should have been banned long, long ago."
PART EUROVISION RECORDING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Sri Lankans in the cities worst affected by recent separatist clashes were at the end of July taking steps to protect themselves against more ethnic violence. In Kandy and Colombo, where the killing and looting was most intense, many residents made plans to leave their homes for safer regions of the island. In Colombo, they moved cautiously into the streets, heavily patrolled by police and troops to stock up on supplies of food and essentials in the few shops that remained intact. They walked through the debris of the preceding days' attacks, past burned-out houses and gutted shops. Queues soon formed outside those shops that were open. People planning an exodus from the city queued for hours for petrol. Reports said many were leaving the city in cars and trucks. The six days of violence, which by July 29 left at least 120 people dead, were sparked by a Tamil guerrilla attack on July 23 in which thirteen army soldiers died in the northern district of Jaffna. The attack led to reprisals by members of the majority Sinhalese community against the Tamil population who number 2.5 million out of Sri Lanka's 15 million people. The Tamil guerrillas want a separate Tamil state, but following the outbreak of violence, the Sri Lankan government introduced tough measures against the separatist movement. These provoked an angry outburst on July 28 from Tamil politicians in India who demonstrated outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi. More than 200 members of parliament, supported by government party members, protested against what they called the "brutal killing" of Tamils. They were met by a strong contingent of police who stopped them entering the commission premises. On July 29, Sri Lanka's President Junius Jayawardene said in an interview that the Sinhalese would never agree to a division of their country which had been united for 2,500 years. He said the separatist movement had been non-violent until 1976, Since then hundreds of both Sinhalese and Tamils had been killed in the separatist campaign. President Jayawardene said the movement should have been banned long ago. The main political party of the movement, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was expected to be outlawed under legislation announced by the President. In his statement, Mr Jayawardene said that campaigners for a separate state would be stripped of their civil rights. The TULF leaders in the separatist campaign, have denied they had anything to do with the guerrilla attacks.