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Indian High Commission in UK attacked

By H S Rao in London
April 28, 2009 05:05 IST
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Five Tamil protesters forced their way on Monday into the Indian High Commission and smashed bullet proof glasses while thousands agitated against the Sri Lankan military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, prompting the mission to seek "adequate security" to protect its offices.

Metropolitan Police arrested the five pro-LTTE protesters and handcuffed them after they attacked the bullet-proof glasses in the front of the India House, housing the Indian High Commission, at Aldwych on Monday morning.

"An incident occurred between 8.15 and 8.30am on Monday. A crowd of demonstrators, shouting slogans about the situation in Sri Lanka gathered outside the High Commission premises," the High Commission said in a statement.

"A few managed to force their way in, when the door was opened to allow a member of local staff in. The crowd, originally about 100 to 150 in number swelled to over a thousand later," it added. When contacted, an official of the Indian High Commission told PTI the bullet-proof glasses were shattered but no one was injured.

"A few, 5, were arrested and taken into custody. The crowd outside have shattered some of the glass-windows of the High Commission's premises with heavy objects," the statement said.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been briefed about the incident, along with the High Commission's concerns about the security situation and their need for adequate security measures," the Indian mission said.

"Police and security agencies are on duty outside the premises. No one in the High Commission has been injured." Initially, there were about 100 demonstrators but it soon swelled to 3,000 with many carrying placards and shouting slogans demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Glass panes on the side of the High Commission where the Visa counters are located were smashed. A spokesman of the Metropolitan Police said the demonstration was on for over three hours and further details were awaited.

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H S Rao in London