Germany: Skirmishes at Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin

Embassy officials attempt to intimidate protesters

On the morning of 27 October we held a demonstration in front of the Sri Lankan embassy in Berlin. We were protesting against the current wave of brutal kidnappings, torturings and murders of Tamil people in Sri Lanka. We were also condemning the state repression and the occupation by the Sri Lankan Army of the Northern part of Sri Lanka where mainly the Tamil population lives. We were there as a delegation from the SAV – the german section of the CWI.

We brought placards demanding "Full withdrawal of the Sri Lankan Army from the North" and "Stop the Repression, Abductions, Torturings and Murders of Tamil People!"

As we rang the bell of the villa, we were invited in. One of our members went in to deliver our protest letter. He was kept inside for about 15 minutes as the embassy personel tried to involve him in "discussions", probably simply to gain time. Then they said they had called the police.

Finally, our member was ‘freed’ from the villa, after insisting several times he wanted to go. Outside the building we wanted to take pictures for the CWI website. However several members of the embassy personnel moved in to stop us. So we managed to take only one rather shaky ‘action’ photo. It was one of the personnel attacking me and trying to rip the placard out of my hands. They were shouting that they would call the police and that it is forbidden to take pictures without the permission of the police. Of course this is ridiculous and certainly not in German law.

As we finished we prepared to leave the area peacefully. We headed for the main street back to our destination – the City train station. But as we walked along the street, they pursued us trying to stop us by shouting and clapping their hands. They had the intention of taking photos of us.

Since we didn’t stop, they ran after us. They overtook us and got in front of us. One of them tried to take pictures of us while we were moving along. With me he did not succeed; I put the placard up in front of the camera and told him he should learn more about human and democratic rights!

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November 2006