Tamils join French May Day protest

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Tamils join French May Day protest
Paris: 

Several thousand Tamil protesters joined the crowds marching in France's traditional May Day workers' rally on Friday to press their demand for a ceasefire in their homeland.

Paris has a large population of immigrant and French-born Tamils, and in recent weeks the city has seen several well-organised demonstrations against the Sri Lankan government's offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels.

"The media never talks about it, so we're taking advantage of the presence of the media to ask all of the French for their support," said 32-year-old Thamil Bala, who has lived in France for 15 years.

In common with many of the 75,000 or more ethnic Tamils living in France, Bala fled Sri Lanka to escape the fighting between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, which has killed 70,000 people in 37 years.

Similar protests have been seen in recent weeks in Britain and Sweden and other countries with large Tamil exile populations.

The Sri Lankan army said today that its troops were ready to launch a final assault on the last pocket of Tiger resistance in the north of the country, an area where thousands of civilians are trapped by the fighting.

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