The ongoing wave of LTTE inspired protests in Batticaloa had forced the military to put on hold a scheduled LTTE overland movement from Black Bridge, Batticaloa to the Omanthai entry/exit point.
An authoritative military official said that a group of about 50 LTTE cadres was to be escorted across the government-controlled area. `The group was to leave around 9. 30 am accompanied by Scandinavian truce monitors,` he said.
But LTTE activists blocked the road opposite the Eastern University at Vantharamoolai, north of Batticaloa, on the Batticaloa-Polonnaruwa road. `They were probably unaware of the scheduled LTTE movement,` he said, while claiming that the Vantharamoolai protest was part of, what he termed as, a wider campaign.
The military had declined to deploy troops to clear the Vantharamoolai `road block`. `We don`t want another fight with protesters,` he said. `If they want to go ahead with the movement they would have to call off the trouble makers,` the official said.
The Vantharamoolai protest comes amidst controversy over the removal of a recently setup roadblock between Shanthiveli and Valaichenai. The government pulled out troops immediately after Monday`s death of a protester near the roadblock. The clash, according to the military, was triggered by civilians acting on the orders of the LTTE.
`The LTTE wanted to get rid of the roadblock as it hampered their movements,` he said. `We should not have pulled out troops,` he said. The security point had been established less than two months ago to prevent unauthorised LTTE movements in the area.
The Oslo-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) does not prohibit setting up of camps or defences in areas controlled by parties to the agreement.
The military said that protesters later in the day allowed traffic pass Vantharamoolai but by that time the overland LTTE movement had been cancelled.