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David Miliband gets the Guy Fawkes Treatment in Sri Lanka

David Miliband gets the Guy Fawkes Treatment in Sri Lanka

Protesters in Sri Lanka today burned an effigy of Foreign Secretary David Miliband and accused the Government of supporting Tamil Tiger rebels.

More than 1,000 people gathered outside the British High Commission after the country’s leaders claimed victory in the 25-year conflict, which has claimed 70,000 lives.

Protesters threw rotten eggs and stones at the embassy, and the effigy was set on fire before being thrown over the high walls.

Mr. Miliband has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and for civilians to be allowed to leave the afflicted area.

Fighting was reported to be continuing in northern Sri Lanka as the Tigers made their last stand. The army claimed to have killed at least 70 today as they penned a handful of diehards in 1.5 square kilometres of jungle.

Reports said that some rebel fighters have been blowing themselves up rather than surrender.

Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers’ chief of international relations, said there were fewer than 2,000 Tamils in the conflict zone, which is now only a few hundred square metres on the north-eastern coast.

He added that 3,000 people had died there in the last 24 hours, but the government denied this.
Mr Pathmanathan, who is in hiding, said on the pro-rebel Tamilnet website: “This battle has reached its bitter end. We have decided to silence our guns. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer.”

The army said more than 50,000 people had escaped from the fighting in the last 72 hours.

The UN said 7,000 civilians had been killed and 16,700 wounded between 20 January and 7 May, while 1,000 are said to have been killed in heavy shelling since.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to formally announce the end of the war on national TV tomorrow. Sri Lankans celebrated by pouring on to the streets, dancing and setting off fireworks.

The London Evening Standard has more.

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