Sri Lanka's government has pledged to quickly process hundreds of ethnic Tamils who have been detained without charges for years on suspicion of links to former Tamil Tiger rebels.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said Thursday that the government will soon release those without chargeable offenses and bring charges against the others.

Some of the detainees have been fasting in prison to press for their release. On Wednesday, relatives and activists protested at Colombo's main train station to demand their immediate freedom.

All were all arrested during the country's civil war on suspicion of links to the Tamil Tigers. The war ended in 2009 after the rebels' defeat.