Tamil leaders honor Sri Lankan war dead at grounds of civil war's final battle as police watch

Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil politicians and a few civilians have gathered under heavy surveillance at a ceremony to honor thousands of dead on the battleground of the final days of the decades-long civil war that ended in 2009.

Lawmakers and local leaders lit earthen lamps and offered flowers Monday at a makeshift memorial in Mullivaikkal village in northeastern Sri Lanka where thousands of people were killed in fierce fighting between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels.

Civilians largely kept away as several Sri Lankan intelligence agents and police were keeping a watch on those attending the ceremony.

Police had obtained a court order prohibiting any memorial that might be perceived as glorifying the dead rebels who were fighting to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils.