The Sri Lankan government held ‘Victory Day’ celebrations with a parade of 3,734 army, 1,189 navy, 1,100 air-force, 643 police and 578 civil defence personnel at Matara. The 37-year conflict ended on May 18, 2009, when troops killed the leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in the northern town of Mullaittivu
President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the nation at the Victory Day celebration said Sri Lanka today is celebrating the peace achieved through sacrifice of lives and not the victory of war.
“This is not a victory of war, but a victory of peace,” the President said adding that the peace achieved by the security forces through great sacrifice of lives must be preserved and remembered by all.“We are not celebrating victory in a war, we are celebrating peace. Irrespective of who opposes this, or who stays away, we will always commemorate this day,” he added.
He said that Sri Lanka is not ready to stop celebrating the day the peace was brought to the country after 30 years of war due to external pressure. “Irrespective of objections from anyone, irrespective of who participates or not, we should celebrate this great victory.” “Some governments are blind, deaf and dumb. They are opposed to our celebrating this victory,” He noted that terrorism by the Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka eliminated not only Sinhala leaders, but well-respected Tamil political leaders as well but nobody wants to remember them.
Speaking briefly in Tamil , the President asked the Tamil people not to be misled by the false propaganda. He said trying to rekindle terrorism again is the biggest injustice to the Tamil people. He said the Tamil diaspora with the support of foreign funds is attempting to divide the country again and assured that the government will not leave any room for such a move ever again.
In the country’s Tamil-majority north and east, however, troops surrounded political party and newspaper offices to prevent public memorials for those who died in the war. Police had blocked Tamils from going to a Hindu temple in the town of Keerimalai, in the Jaffna peninsula “This is totally unacceptable,” said M.A. Sumanthiran, a Tamil lawmaker. “This is a low point in civilization where a country prevents its people from remembering their dead.”
In Colombo hundreds of government supporters marched to the Norwegian embassy to denounce what they called Oslo’s support for remnants of the rebels living abroad. Norway acted as peacebroker but failed to secure agreement from the parties to a peaceful end to the conflict.