Protesters angry at Sri Lanka’s offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels broke into and vandalized the Indian embassy in central London on Monday, police said.
A similar move against the Sri Lankan embassy near London’s Hyde Park was thwarted, but the capital’s Metropolitan Police said two officers were injured in the clashes. Six protesters were arrested at both locations.
“They pushed through [police] and entered the reception area. Some of the building’s windows were damaged and missiles thrown at the building itself,” a police spokeswoman said, describing the protest at India House, home to the Indian High Commission.
Police said on Monday afternoon that the 250 or so protesters outside the Sri Lankan embassy had dispersed, while the 175 people or so people gathered outside the Indian embassy left later in the evening as workers moved in to fix the damage.
Tamils and their supporters across the world have mounted a series of demonstrations demanding an immediate end to fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tiger separatists after the government largely cornered the rebels in a small strip of land along the northeast coast.
The move puts the Sri Lankan government in a position to defeat the Tigers and end the country’s quarter-century civil war, but the UN says thousands of civilians have been killed in the fighting over the past three months.
In Britain, the former colonial power in Sri Lanka, protests included a mass march by at least 100,000 people on April 11, as well as hunger strikes and at least two attempts by protesters to set themselves on fire.
A group of Tamil supporters has been camped outside parliament since April 6.
India, home to a large population of ethnic Tamils, has sent envoys to try to demand a halt to the fighting, but Sri Lanka still rejects talk of ceasefire.