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On Feb 9th,2019 activists from various Tamil movements and Tamils who gathered in Bangalore to protest against The Hindu and Mahinda Rajapaksa were arrested.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited to deliver inaugural address to “The Huddle” conclave organized by The Hindu. To condemn this protest was organized by Dravidar Vidudhalai Kazhagam and May 17 movement in Bangalore. Though the police gave permission initially to conduct the protest in front of Bangalore Town Hall, it was cancelled a day before the protest. The police did not give any sufficient reason as to why the permission was cancelled.

After the movements repeatedly insisted on their democratic right to conduct protests, the police finally gave permission on Friday night, as late as 10.30 PM.The venue of the protest was however changed to the Freedom Park. A sealed copy of the acknowledgement letter was given to the organizers of the protest.

On the morning of the protest, Freedom Park was swarming with police even before the protest started. Each and every person attending the protest were carefully filmed and photographed by the police in the venue. An intimidating environment was created by the police.

The protest started around 10.30 AM. At around 11 AM as soon as the media had left the venue, the police announced they are going to arrest the protesters. They refused to listen to any reasoning as to why inspite of providing permission to conduct protest till 1 PM the protestors are getting arrested. The venue from the protest was far from the hotel where the Hindu conclave was happening and there were no undesirable events of any sorts in the protest. Some police personnel responded that it was a standard procedure and asked for cooperation.

Around 50 protesters were arrested and taken to the police grounds in Chamrajpet and then let off after personal details of protestors were collected. Even after the protest was over, any one wearing a black shirt in the vicinity of the Freedom Park were asked by the police to leave the place immediately.

Such is the State’s treatment to the freedom of expression, when you protest against The Hindu, a media house that projects itself as a progressive and a harbinger of Freedom of speech and expression, and a criminal Mahinda Rajapakse who has been indicted for war and genocide crimes by many international bodies.

Tamilarasan, May 17 Movement

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