The demonstration in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo, was in contrast a protest in the capital Monday. Pro-government Buddhist monks in Colombo had denounced Pillay, who had called for a war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka. Pillay, who has previously been accused by Colombo of overstepping her mandate, arrived Sunday for her first official visit after the government dropped its public hostility to her and promised access to former war zones.
She has told reporters she was only holding Colombo to human rights standards agreed by all nations. Sri Lanka has resisted international pressure for an international investigation into what the UN says are "credible allegations" that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war in 2009. A no-holds-barred military offensive crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels and ended their decades-long fight for an ethnic Tamil homeland. The rebels at the height of their power controlled a third of the country. President Mahinda Rajapakse has since been dogged by claims troops killed Tamils indiscriminately in the war zone, which was closed to aid workers and journalists. Tamil groups are banking on Pillay's visit to revive calls for a war crimes probe, but the government insists that its troops did not kill civilians.