Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham and Financial Secretary to the Treasury, visited Parliament Square in Westminster on Wednesday 15 April to meet with Tamil demonstrators.  They have been there round-the-clock to draw attention to the recent escalation of violence in the Sri Lankan civil war.

Mr Timms was accompanied by local Newham councillor, Paul Sathianesan.  A number of Mr Timms’ constituents have been directly affected by the conflict, and whilst at Parliament Square he heard from protestors about how the conflict had affected their families and friends.

Mr Timms spent a considerable amount of time talking with Mr Parameswaran Subramaniyan, who has been on hunger strike in Parliament Square since early April.  Mr Subramaniyan was clearly weakened by the hunger strike and was only able to talk a little.  He said that five members of his family of ten had died in recent shelling.  Mr Timms discussed the conflict with Mr Subramaniyan, and expressed particular concern at all the reports of civilian deaths in Vanni.  

Before leaving, Stephen Timms addressed the protestors.  He assured them the UK Government would do everything it could to press for an end to the conflict.  He also paid tribute to the protestors’ responsible behaviour on the demonstration, and backed their call for a lasting ceasefire and a speedy resolution to the conflict.

Mr Timms commented afterwards: "I have been deeply concerned by reports of deaths in the Vanni peninsula – a “No Fire” area which is the target of repeated shelling – and of a desperate lack of food and medicine among the many thousands who are trapped there.  A number of people in East Ham have told me about relatives being killed in the last few days – in one case of a man who left shelter briefly to try and find food for his family."

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AuthorStephen Timms