Sri Lanka’s May Day rallies reject UN war report

May 1, 2011 (AFP) – The Sri Lankan government used May Day rallies on Sunday to reject a United Nations report that alleged the military may have been guilty of atrocities during the island’s civil war. Roads were decorated in the party colours of blue, red and maroon, while billboards were erected showing the president and recently-completed development work.

“We want to send a clear message to the international community that no imperialist interventions are possible in Sri Lanka,” said petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha, who is also the ruling party’s general secretary.

More 8,000 police officers and hundreds of army personnel were deployed around the capital to maintain security on May Day, which is traditionally a day of workers’ demonstrations across the world.

Sri Lanka has repeatedly denied any rights violations and refused to allow the three-member UN panel of experts who wrote the report access to the country.

The panel said the Sri Lankan military killed most of the tens of thousands of civilian victims of the offensive when it shelled Tamil territory between January and May of 2009.

It also cited evidence that Tamil Tiger separatists had used civilians as a “huma