HC - During cricket encounter in Wales
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London, Dr. Chris Nonis assured that he had done all he could to stop any violent incidents during or after the cricket match played between Sri Lanka and India last Thursday (20) at Sofia Gardens Grounds in Cardiff, Wales.
Asked by The Sunday Island what action he had taken, the High commissioner said that before the Championship Trophy Cricket Tournament started in the UK, he had discussed the security arrangements for the Sri Lanka Cricket Team with the Counter Terrorism Unit, Diplomatic Protection Group, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Metropolitan Police, Protocol Directorate and SO15, the special security group.
"We informed every single police and security division that we knew. Not only in England, but also Wales", Dr. Nonis said.
Despite a valiant effort, which saw even the providing of free buses to transport people, calling, sending messages, using websites and twitter, the organizers managed to muster only about few hundred pro-LTTE Tamils to protest against the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka in front of the cricket ground.
"Pro-LTTE groups are losing ground. They could not muster a large number of people any more to demonstrate like they used to do a few years ago", Dr. Nonis said.
He said that there were only five documented incidents including attacks, throwing chillie powder at a woman’s face and a car being vandalized.
The Police were of the view that they managed to control the situation with a relatively low number of incidents considering the violent atmosphere which could have escalated to something much bigger, he noted.
"Seven people were arrested and they are expected to be charged and fined £1000/= each", Dr. Nonis said.
The International Cricket Council was responsible for security at the grounds and it was handled by a private security company.
The pro-LTTE demonstration during the match between Sri Lanka and Australia in front of the Oval cricket ground in London last Monday led to a scuffle, which prompted them to organize this Cardiff demo.
~ www.island.l ~ By Sujeeva Nivunhella