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Demonstration against British State for Chagos ecological colonization


LALIT's demonstration against the British State for its new form of colonization through "ecology" was a great success. The British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 2 April gave instructions to the Commissioner of the British figment of a colony, British Indian Ocean Territories, to decree the Chagos archipelago a "Marine Protected Area", thus using an environmental issue in order to prolong the banning of the population from their home Islands and in order to prolong the illegal occupation of part of Mauritius. The enormity of the British action can be judged by the fact that they have had to "exclude" from the Marine Protected Area the Diego Garcia area because the USA houses a huge military base, with all its pollution including nuclear material, there. Not to mention the fact that the Chagossians have a case due to come before the European Union Human Rights Court in a few months' time.

Attended by over a hundred dedicated supporters of the Chagossian struggle for the right to return, the people's struggle for the complete decolonization of Mauritius and its re-unification, and the anti-war movement's struggle to close down the military base on Diego Garcia, the march delivered a letter to the British High Commission in person. (Letter published in English and in Kreol versions, on this page).

Gathering in front of the Marie Reine de la Paix Social Centre in St. Georges' Avenue, the march began with a half-hour meeting, presided by Alain Ah-Vee who gave the introductory speech, announcing the start of a new phase in the struggle on the Diego Garcia and Chagos issue. Then Lindsey Collen spoke. Many trade unionists and activists were present at this demonstration called by LALIT. Jayen Chellum spoke of the suffering of the Chagossians, and of the sovereignty issue. Toolsiraj Benydin spoke of his Union's support of the struggles for de-militarization of the Indian Ocean as well as on the issue of the Chagossians' right to return, and the question of Chagos having been excised illegally. Other trade union leaders were present. The most popular slogan, cried out in call and response style, was "Angle . . . Voler! Meriken . . . Reseler!" It translates as "British (State) . . . Robbers! American (State) . . . Receivers (of stolen goods)!" and it has a good singing rhythm in Kreol. Other slogans included "Right of return . . . For all Chagossians", "Marine Park . . . We say no!" and the popular old-time slogans from demonstrations of the 1970's "Rann nu . . . Diego!" and "Ki nu pe rode . . . Diego!"

Many well known personalities who are not in LALIT were present at the march.

Web-readers will remember that LALIT had to postpone this march once because of taking the Police Commissioner to the Supreme Court as he was insisting on an administrative procedure as a condition for the right to hold a march. LALIT won its case, and now no march organizer has to any longer go and get a fax from the Ministry of Land Transport before holding a march. All you have to do is to inform the Police Commissioner, with details as to date, time and intended route.