Sri Lanka leader urges protests against UN report

April 17, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president has called for mass protests against a UN report which urged a probe into alleged war crimes committed during the fight against Tamil Tiger rebels, his office said Sunday. President Mahinda Rajapakse in an address to his Sri Lanka Freedom Party officials said this year’s May Day rally should be turned into a “show of our strength” against international calls for war crimes investigations.

“All these days we did not demonstrate our strength, but now on May Day we will show our strength,” the president said on Saturday. An audio tape of the speech was released by his office.

His remarks came as a leaked UN report called for an independent inquiry into “credible” allegations that Sri Lanka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in its final 2009 offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels.

Rajapakse said a section of the international community was leading a campaign against Sri Lanka and harbouring a “grudge” because he did not allow the country to be divided as demanded by the Tamil Tigers.

He said the world had also benefited from the crushing of the rebels who had mastered the use of “suicide jackets” in their trade-mark bombings.