April 27, 2009 / 12:21 PM / 10 years ago

Tamil supporters smash windows in London protest

LONDON (Reuters) - Supporters of Tamil separatists smashed windows at the Indian High Commission and halted traffic in London on Monday in a protest to demand an immediate cease-fire in an offensive by government troops in Sri Lanka.

A pro-Tamil demonstrator shouts outside the High Commission of India in London April 27, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

Police said they had arrested three people for criminal damage at the Indian High Commission, where they estimated between 150-175 people had protested.

Police arrested three more people at a larger protest at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London where two officers were injured and taken to hospital.

Witnesses said demonstrators threw small missiles at the Indian High Commission (Embassy), smashing ground floor windows.

“We want an immediate cease-fire,” protester Kamal Dnansun told Reuters. Others chanted “Cease-fire Now!”

Police said protesters at the Sri Lankan High Commission had now dispersed, but that demonstrators remained outside the Indian building.

The demonstrators accused India of covertly supporting the Sri Lankan government and blocking a halt in the fighting.

“India is instigating this war, orchestrating it in the background. They are conducting the drama, even if the Sri Lankan government wants to pull out, they are not being allowed to,” said a protester who gave his name as only as Sanjeevan.

Tamils and their supporters have staged regular demonstrations in London against the conflict. Last week, thousands blocked streets around parliament.

Colombo dismissed an attempt on Sunday to declare a truce by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels, who are now cornered in less than 10 sq km (4 sq miles) of coastline by a Sri Lankan military intent on ending a war that started in 1983.

Foreign ministers from Britain, France and Sweden were due to fly to Colombo on Wednesday to try to bring a peaceful end to the battle in the last pocket of territory held by the Tigers.

Indian government ministers flew into Colombo on Friday for a meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa but returned to India with no apparent developments in the conflict.

(Editing by Keith Weir)

Additional reporting by Kate Kelland

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