An estimated 20,000 fishermen today staged a black flag demonstration in the sea onboard their boats protesting the recent arrests of 65 of their colleagues by the Sri Lankan Navy and demanding their immediate release. The demonstrations were held in the sea off Pazhayar, Poompuhar, Tarangambadi, Karaikal, Nagore, Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam and Kodiakarai in the district and Karaikal, local fishermen association sources said. The fishermen had hoisted black flags on their boats and ventured into the sea for the demonstrations, held a few hundred meters away from the shore.
Their family members staged hunger strikes in the shore. Raising slogans against Sri Lankan Navy, the protesters urged the Union Government to initiate steps to find a permanent solution to the issue of recurring arrests by the Lankan personnel. The 65 fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 28 and their remand has been extended up to Aug 16 by a court at Mannar. India had on August 7 summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner and issued a demarche on the issue of 114 Indian fishermen lodged in Lankan jails.