Posted on May 12th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The Speaker of the British House of Commons Michael Martin charged that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demonstration on May 11 hijacked the British parliament  obstructing the duties of elected members.

In an obvious reference made to filthy unsanitary conditions created by the weeks long demonstration by the Tamil Tigers in the parliamentary square the Speaker said, “to hijack an important part of this city””‚with hunger strikers, tents and food stalls, but no toilet facilities””‚is not the proper way to conduct a demonstration.”


Charging the LTTE demonstration violated the democratic rights of the others the speaker said , “Many of us were involved in demonstrations before we came into the House, because demonstrating is part of a democracy, but we would have those demonstrations and then leave. No one has ever expected a demonstration to hijack Parliament square and the roads, and thereby stop others performing their democratic duties.”



Many members of the House of Commons were reportedly outraged by the Tamil Tiger demonstration that turned into a mob.  Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire) Conservative Party member even suggested stricter methods against the demonstrators. He said, “Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. When you have your discussions later this week, will you please discuss with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the advisability of bringing in an implement that would be used in virtually every other capital city””‚the water cannon?” But the Speaker turned down the suggestion by telling ,  “We have enough problems without water cannons; we do not need water cannons.”



Simon Hughes the Liberal Democratic Member(North Southwark and Bermondsey)    argued the demonstration was lawful. He said, “Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not condone people going on to the streets, but I wish to place it on record that I know for a certain fact that the demonstration in the square was applied for lawfully and granted permission for at least the last four weeks, and it will be able to continue lawfully for some weeks to come.”



But the Speaker did not agree: “I know that I might be in a bit of a bad mood today, but let me say that when authorisation is given for 50 people to demonstrate, it means 50 people. It does not mean tents or food stalls, or texts being sent to supporters to tell them to bring little children along. That is not part of the authorisation of the demonstration. As a former trade union officer, I know that when somebody co-operates with the authorities to obtain permission for a demonstration, they comply with the rules that they lay down. No one can say that that happened in this case.”



But  most of the members of the Commons were complaining . The Conservative Party Member for Macclesfield Sir Nicholas Winterton said, “Mr. Speaker. May I seek your advice, because I was personally involved in Parliament square this morning? I was coming in by car and I was almost at Chancellor’s Gate when the Tamil demonstrators burst out of Parliament square and occupied the road. I was delayed in attending a meeting in the House. Indeed, I was held up for an hour and 10 minutes, until the police were able to sort out the traffic. Is it not the case that Members of Parliament and those associated with the House should have unimpeded access, and the police and the authorities should seek to guarantee that?”



But some Members of Parliament who have been traditionally supportive of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist group and their allies like Labour Party Member Jeremy Corbyn (Ishington North) and Simon Hughes of the Liberal Democratic Party spoke in sympathy of the demonstrators.



This parliamentary discussion took place because Howarth M.P.for Aldershot raised a point of order on the floor. He said, “ On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yet again, our capital city has been brought to a standstill by a bunch of demonstrators who have, in effect, occupied Parliament square for about six weeks. I have raised the matter with you before. Although it is true that Members have had access, albeit not to the main entrance of the House””‚we have had restricted access””‚there are nevertheless hundreds of thousands of people out there going about their business, who have had their business lives and their personal lives disrupted by the demonstration, at enormous cost to them and their businesses, as well as inconvenience.



I know that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has had added to his list of things to do that which you asked him over the weekend to do, but I have raised the matter with you before. It is surely unacceptable that these people should be allowed to take over Parliament square and disrupt the entire centre of our capital city. I wonder what on earth the Metropolitan Police Commissioner is doing about it, bearing in mind that every police officer to whom I have spoken has made it clear to me that it is his view that the Commissioner will take no action, because after the G20 they are completely frit of doing anything for fear of ending up in court themselves.”

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