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Report: France - Sri Lanka

Hundreds march in memory of Tamil victims in Paris

Tamils demonstrate in Paris, 18 May, 2013
Tamils demonstrate in Paris, 18 May, 2013 Pierre Delrieu

Marches were organised around the world by ethnic Tamil Sri Lankans on Saturday the 18th March to mark the 4th anniversary of an attack that killed over 40,000 people in northern Sri Lanka. In Paris, several hundred Tamils took to the streets demanding an independent investigation into what they view as a genocide.

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Hundreds of protesters gathered on the Champ-de-Mars, in front of the Eiffel Tower, waving red flags orned with the head of a golden roaring Tiger, symbol of the Tamil Eelam state.

Many also carried enlarged photos of victims of what they refer to as the Tamil genocide.

Audio report

Four years have passed since the Sri Lankan military launched an attack on the Tamil ethnic group in the North of the island. Official figures put the death toll at 40,000.

However, Thiru Thiruchchoti, president of the French based Council of Eelam Tamils, says this number greatly underestimates violence perpetrated against the Tamil population prior to the 2009 attack.

Thiruchchoti says thousands more Tamils are still missing:

"Today, if we are here, it's to say "We will not forget". We will not forget the victims, we still count the dead, we still miss 146.000 people."

In a 2011 report, the UN admitted to having failed to protect the Tamil population for having decided not to intervene .

Protestors are also calling for an unbiased investigation, explained Thiruchchoti:

"The international community could have intervened, could have stopped all of this. They did not do their duty. We are calling for an international investigation. Not by the Sri Lanka government but by an international commission who can go into Sri Lanka and investigate all crimes being committed over there."

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