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04COLOMBO1380 2004-08-19 12:31:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Colombo
Cable title:  


Tags:   ASEC LTTE 
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1. (SBU) At 1210 hours a group of approximately 100 members
of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) held a protest
in front of the American Embassy Colombo. The protesters
were requesting the United States assistance in stopping the
recent attacks by the LTTE against members of the EPDP.
Three members of the delegation were allowed to enter the
compound under escort of the LGF and ARSO to deliver a
petition to the Embassy,s Political Officer. After
delivering the petition the three individuals left the
Embassy, and the crowd dispersed five minutes latter at
approximately 1230 hours. The crowd was peaceful, and the
three EPDP members allowed to enter the compound willingly
followed all security protocols.

2. (SBU) The group was protesting the death of EPDP Media
Secretary Balandarajah Aiyer, who was killed by two gunmen on

August 16, 2004 in Wellawatte, Sri Lanka. The Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam are suspected of conducting the
assassination. The EPDP is a Tamil political organization
that is opposed to the LTTE. The protest began at the Indian
High Commission and the moved to the British High Commission
before arriving at the American Embassy. (All three
facilities are located on Galle Road in Colombo.) On July 7,
2004, an LTTE female suicide bomber attempted to assassinate
the leader of the EPDP Douglas Devananda. The attempt failed
when police officers took the bomber into custody at the
final security checkpoint before entering Devananda,s
office. The bomber was taken to a local police station
across the street from the Embassy, where she detonated her
device killing herself and four police officers. A similar
march was held at the Norwegian Embassy last month after an
EPDP member was assassinated by the LTTE in the Eastern
Province city of Batticaloa.

3. (SBU) The Regional Security Office Colombo learned that a
protest would be held in front of the Embassy thirty minutes
before the event. The Local Guard Force and Surveillance
Detection teams were briefed. The Regional Security Officer
briefed the Marine Security Guard Detachment Commander, and
Marines were placed on stand-by at the MSG BEQ. The Sri Lanka
Police also deployed additional police officers at the
Embassy. During the protest the Embassy personnel were
instructed to remain on the compound, and both gates were

4. (SBU) RSO Comments: Over the last two months the LTTE has
conducted two assassinations and one suicide bomber attack in
Colombo. The recent violence can be attributed to the
EPDP,s open support of breakaway LTTE leader Karuna, and the
LTTE desire to crush any political or military rivals in the
Tamil minority community. Today's protest had no
anti-American sentiments.