PROTESTERS calling for a boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket team's tour of Australia say they are being stalked by intelligence ''operatives'' who are gathering information about them for the Sri Lankan government.
Hundreds of protesters who have staged events in Sydney and Melbourne in the past two weeks to draw attention to alleged human rights abuses in the country are complaining they have been filmed and photographed in an intimidating way by men they believe have links to Sri Lankan officials in Australia.
A Melbourne doctor who attended a protest at the Boxing Day Test said three men had been overtly photographing them in a tactic that was creating a climate of fear in the Australian community.
The organiser of the Boycott Sri Lanka Cricket Campaign, Trevor Grant, has written to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, complaining about the conduct of the men and saying he had been a victim of the stalking at the SCG.
Mr Grant, a former sports journalist, said the Tamil groups who had seen the men were convinced they were connected with the Sri Lankan government. ''They say they have done this before, using the photographs and film for identification, in order to harass relatives back in Sri Lanka,'' he said.
''We have photographs of these men and I can send them to you in order to identify them through the Sri Lankan embassy. We believe we know the identity of one man.''
But when Fairfax Media approached the Sri Lankan consul-general in Sydney, Bandula Jayasekara, last week to try to identify the man and inquire about the alleged intimidation, he refused to answer whether the man was known to consular officials.
Mr Jayasekara did say in an email that the protesters at the Test matches in Sydney and Melbourne were some misguided Australians.
''I am told that the protesters wore separatist T-shirts.
''I don't know what intimidation you are talking of. Let me tell you that the high commissioner and I had to enter the grounds in Sydney under your police protection due to threats and intimidation tactics of these groups.
''I am sure you understand now who was threatened,'' the consul-general wrote.
''Do not give them the air they need to destabilise another country.''
But when questioned about the identity of the man in the photograph, Mr Jayasekara responded by asking: ''Are you trying to intimidate us on the advice of separatist supporters?
''I am told that they have several people on their payroll both here and in other countries.''
A spokesman for Senator Carr said it was not a matter for the Foreign Affairs Minister but if the protesters felt threatened they should contact police.
He said there would be no boycott of Sri Lankan cricket.