Hunger striker denies eating Big Mac

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The Independent Online

A hunger striker today denied tucking into a McDonald's takeaway during one of Britain's longest-running protests.

Tamil Parameswaran Subramaniyan, 28, fasted for 24 days after five of his relatives, including his mother, were killed in fighting in Sri Lanka.

He camped in a makeshift tent on the edge of Parliament Square, in Westminster, London, as thousands of Tamils staged a three-month demonstration.

The protest caused huge controversy in the capital as it sucked up police resources, disrupted roads and left taxpayers with a £7.1 million bill.

It was claimed today that police surveillance teams looked on in amazement as McDonalds burgers were smuggled to Mr Subramaniyan.

One source told the Daily Mail: "In view of the overtime bill, this has got to be the most expensive Big Mac ever."

But Mr Subramaniyan, a student from Mitcham, south London, vehemently denied eating any food during the fast, which he said left him seriously ill.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "This is a lie to break the strength of the hunger strike and the protest itself. It is not true at all.

"This has been planted by the Sri Lankan government. We have contacted police and they said they did not release a comment on this or anything about it.

"We just want to prove our innocence. We are totally denying this. It is false news."

The Tamil protest ended in mid-June after 73 days that included several hunger strikes, marches, mass sit-ins and people throwing themselves in the River Thames.

Senior officers were forced to bring in officers from boroughs across London to cope with the sprawling and unpredictable protest.

At one point more than 100,000 people joined a march and rally organised by the British Tamil Forum.

Surges in activity followed developments in Sri Lanka as Government forces wiped out Tamil Tiger militants, leaving many civilians dead.

Mr Subramaniyan's close friend, Sivendran Nadarajah, who accompanied him during his fast, said they are considering legal action.

Mr Nadarajah, a student at London South Bank University, said the hunger strikers were monitored by doctors who kept a log of their deteriorating condition.

He said: "He is ready to go to the courts to prove his innocence and we have started taking to lawyers.

"We are ready to file a case at our own expense and we want to see the evidence that he ate a burger.

"There were thousands of people there during the day and if surveillance teams saw it then others must have seen it too.

"The protest finished three months ago and this is propaganda by the Sri Lankan government to cover up further abuses in Sri Lanka."

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