Tamil-speaking fishermen in Mannaar staged a large protest on Monday demanding immediate action against the exploitation by the Indian poachers in the territorial waters of the North. The protest, participated by fishermen from more than 40 coastal villages of Mannaar district, brought parts of central Mannaar to a standstill for more than 2 hours as the Colombo's Sinhala Government Agent (GA) of Mannaar didn't allow the Additional GA to go and receive the petition from the protesters, news sources in the city said. The fisher families have been severely affected by the continuous destruction caused by the Indian trawlers to their fishing nets and the mothers and wives of the fishermen are forced to go for daily wage work, the protesters complained. The fishermen are also concerned about the fishing environment getting permanently destroyed.
Following the announcement of the protest, the fishermen didn't go to the sea Sunday night in order to take part in the protest.
Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Vino Noharathalingam accompanied Justin Soyza, the president of Mannaar district fishermen society at the protest.
The protesters demanded the GA to receive their appeal in public. However, the Additional GA Ms Stanley de Mel was instructed by the GA not to go out to receive their appeal. However, TNA parliamentarian Vino Noharathalingam negotiated with the Additional GA to come and receive the appeal in order to conclude the protest peacefully.
Traffic along Bazar Road, Sebastian Church Road, Hospital Road and Mannaar-Medawachiya Road was at standstill between 10 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Sri Lankan policemen were deployed in large numbers. The protesters laid siege to the bus stand for a while confronting the policemen. Photos. Video.