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Last updated: 02 December, 2010 - Published 20:34 GMT
 
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UK protests 'threaten freedom of expression'
 
The Sri Lanka government says that protesters in the United Kingdom threatened freedom of expression.

Tamil protest in London
Tamils called for the arrest of the president

In an apparent effort to counter number of allegations that are appearing in the British media in recent days about the war crimes in addition to give government's response to the last minute cancellation of the president's address at a leading debating union, G L Peiris spoke to journalists in a hurriedly convened press meet in London.

The external affairs minister says "it's a matter for regret" that President Rajapaksa's scheduled speech at the Oxford union to be held on Thursday has to be cancelled.

Protests

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was met with hundreds of Tamil protesters when he arrived at the London Heathrow airport on Monday. A large scale protest planned by the Tamils, in Oxford forced the organisers to withdraw their invitation to the Sri Lankan President.

Pro-government demonstration in London
Sinhala demonstrators called the president a 'hero'

A statement by the Oxford Union on Wednesday said, "due to the sheer scale of the expected protests, we do not feel that the talk can safely go ahead".

Yet, Tamil's staged a protest in front of the hotel in London on Thursday where the president was reportedly staying.

Tamils demanded the arrest of the President of Sri Lanka in connection with alleged war crimes. At the same venue a group of Sinhalese held a parallel pro government demonstration calling the president a hero.

Sri Lankan foreign minister blamed the LTTE supporters for the cancellation of the presidents speech.

Government intentions

Prof. Peiris said that the president wants to inform the world about the intentions of Sri Lankan government with regard to reconciliation and re settlement of internally displaced people.

Sri Lankan government says out of a total of 2,90,000 who were displaced due to war only about 10,000 are still in the camps.

In addition, 'humanitarian, economic, social and political' needs are also been addressed.

The minister who said where moves to arrive at a political solution by successive governments failed, the Sri Lankan government led by President Rajapaksa is taking steps towards a 'viable and inplementable political solution'.

 
 
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