The Times reports on the public relations disaster for the demonstrations and vigils in support of Tamils in Sri Lanka, which have been occupy Parliament Square on and off during the past few weeks:
From Times Online
May 19, 2009
Twenty-five police officers were injured in the early hours of this morning and ten British Tamil protesters arrested as police attempted to break up a demonstration blocking the streets around Westminster.
The violent clashes took place hours after the Sri Lankan government announced victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels and the death of all the main Tiger leadership.
The clashes outside Parliament left three officers requiring hospital treatment, while five protesters were also taken to hospital and more treated at the scene, all for minor injuries.
The protesters were arrested for public order offences after refusing to move from the roads outside Parliament. Up to 5,000 protesters had broken out of the centre of Parliament Square at around 4pm yesterday and brought Westminster to a standstill. They staged a sit-down protest to call for international intervention in Sri Lanka, where thousands of civilians remain in internment camps at the end of the bloody civil war that has claimed 70,000 lives.
This morning around 30 protestors remained in Parliament Square, where they have had a continuous presence since April 6. A peaceful vigil and hunger strikes has now escalated into illegal roadblocks on four occasions.
It does not matter if the protestors were provoked by the Police actions or not, this outbreak of violence is a public relations disaster for the protestors' cause.
The weak Labour Government and the Foreign Office bureaucracy will now be able to discount and ignore any moral pressure they felt on them caused by the hitherto peaceful demonstrations, which have now all gone to waste.