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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 105

Tigers walk meekly in Paris – no more noisy demonstrations

Paris, 08 October, ( The usual images of Prabhakaran and his cutouts, placards and slogans that dominated processions and demonstration in Paris, France are no longer visible today. The Tigers in France today are demonstrating on low-key walks on footpaths in groups sans slogan shouting, fluttering of Tiger flags and even placards. Their weak and meek mumbles and groans lack the aggressive pomp and pageantry of the past.

This is what happened last Saturday when a group of Tigers supporters went on a foot-march urging the release of the Tiger leaders and members arrested and held in custody in France. On Saturday, LTTE marchers walked in groups as if people were taking a stroll on a weekend. But in the process they also tried to make the point that it was a show of protest against the arrest of the LTTE leadership in Paris on April Fools Day.

Unlike the earlier days, preparations for this foot march were organized very secretly through some Tamil shop owners in Paris. The reason for holding the footpath march instead of a public protest march was because the second level LTTE leaders in France were suspicious whether there would be any positive response for any protest march if done publicly.

Footpath walks commenced in front of the La Courneuve Town Council and moved up to Paris on Saturday. On the spot reports revealed that a few dozens of people participated in the footpath march – in fact less than a hundred hardcore LTTE supporters.

Furthermore, the second level LTTE leadership was suspicious if in case they applied for permission to hold a protest march that the French police might not give permission for an LTTE event. Besides, it was pointed out that as LTTE agents were reluctant to put up a front man to apply for police permission they arranged the footpath march as an alternative.

In last April, when 18 top members of the LTTE were arrested, Tigers made arrangements to hold a protest march led by Tamil students in Paris.

But soon it was taken over by Tiger agents like Siva Sinnapody and his son Vasantharupan. This angered the students. Subsequently students kept away from such demonstrations as a mark of protests.

Siva Sinnapody was earlier a strong PLOTE activist in Sri Lanka before seeking political asylum in Paris. When he was with the PLOTE he was leading the campaign against LTTE leader Prabhakaran ridiculing him and the LTTE as a whole.

After arriving in Paris, he changed his tune overnight and tuned into a Tiger supporter. He joined the Tiger Tamil weekly – Eelamurasu, a community newspaper distributed free in Paris. He later joined the news division of the Tamil Television Network – a TV station run by the Tigers which were closed down in May this year. But due to friction with the management of the TTN, he was transferred to the Tamil Ccordinating Committee office, the LTTE office in Paris run by the Tiger leadership in Vanni.

He is one of the few who escaped arrest when French Police raided the LTTE office in Paris on the April Fools day.

His son Vasantharupan, a strong LTTE supporter, worked as a translator attached to OFFRA, a government office which deals with those applying for asylum as well as other matters connected with the refugees.

There were reports that he used to leak photocopies of documents damaging to the LTTE -- documents presented by refugee claimants who had sought asylum due to the harassment and threat by the Tigers.

This father and son pair who worked for the Tigers in France are now absconding fearing they might be arrested. It is learnt that they have managed slip away from Paris and are now hiding in Colombo. But it is unclear what they are doing in Colombo.

- Asian Tribune -

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