On May 18, 2009, Sri Lanka ended a decade long civil war. The day after, May 19, has traditionally been celebrated as “Victory Day” and marked with military parades.
That is, until May 19, 2015, when Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne announced that the Government of Sri Lanka would instead mark “Remembrance Day” in memory of those who had lost their lives.
The move gave fresh hope to families of the North, who often had their memorial day activities blocked while the news simultaneously broadcast images of the “Victory Day” parades.
In 2015, families were able to commemorate the fallen, but under surveillance. It has been increasingly apparent however that these changes are only cosmetic in nature.
On May 17, courts in Mullaitivu blocked a commemorative event to be held near the Chinnapar Catholic home in Mullivaikal. The stay order was at the request of the police, who felt the event posed a threat to national security. Prior to the event, the organisers faced intimidation and surveillance.