Tamil protesters storm Sri Lankan Embassy in Oslo
OSLO, April 12, 2009 (AFP) – A group of Tamil protesters stormed the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo Sunday, police said, on the fifth day of demonstrations in the Norwegian capital calling for the end of fighting in Sri Lanka.
Even Joerstad, an Oslo police superintendent, told AFP that around 100 Tamil demonstrators tried to storm the Sri Lankan embassy at 1400 (1300 GMT) and that an unknown number managed to break in.”There were about 100 outside but we don’t know how many went inside the embassy,” Joerstad said.
“They were inside for about four or five minutes and then they went out,” he said, adding that the protesters broke windows and furniture inside the building. Joerstad said the Tamils left the building at the police’s request and that no arrests were made, describing the current situation as “peaceful.” He declined to reveal how many police officers were at the scene at the time.
Godfrey Manoharan, a spokesman for the Tamil protesters, said between 400 and 500 people attended the rally, although Oslo police were unable to confirm those figures. Manoharan said the protesters had become “angry and frustrated” after reports emerged on a pro-Tamil website that the Sri Lankan military had fired at a civilian “no-fire zone” early Sunday morning. “It’s a message to the Sinhalese government that we won’t give up,” he said.
Staff at the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo declined to comment on the incident when contacted by AFP.
Several hundred Tamils have been protesting in Oslo since April 7 calling on Norway to broker a truce between the government and the rebels. Norwegian mediation helped bring about a now-defunct ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in February 2002.