COLOMBO – Sri Lanka Police on Wednesday Nov,2 evening took measures to prevent a protest march from proceeding to the Fort Railway Station.
The march against state suppression commenced from Maradana and was stopped by police officers close to the Maradana Railway Station.
Sri Lanka Police had informed earlier in the day that as per a letter by the ASP in charge of Colombo Central Area Two permission will not be granted for the protest march, and had called in a large number of its personnel for security in Maradana, and surrounding areas.
Sri Lanka Police took measures to prevent the protestors from marching to Fort, Colombo resulting in heated exchanges.
The protest march by multiple groups including political parties, mass organizations, and trade unions commenced from opposite the Elphinstone Theatre in Maradana at around 3 PM on Wednesday.
The Samagi Jana Balavegaya led by the opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by its General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera, the Frontline Socialists Party, the 43rd Brigade led by Patali Champika Ranawaka, the Freedom People’s Congress among 20 political parties, and over 150 trade unions and mass organizations joined the protest.
Police says NO permission:
Sri Lanka Police has issued a letter informing the various protest groups – including students, trade, and political bodies – who planned to protest in Colombo on Wednesday (2), stating that permission will not be granted to protest opposite the Fort Railway Station or in close proximity.
The letter bears the signature of Colombo Central Division 1 Police Superintendent K. A. E. N Dilruk and police officers visited the offices and residences of the protest groups early on Wednesday (2) to hand over the letter.
Sri Lanka Police confirmed that such a letter was dispatched.
The letter goes on to state that during the period of the planned protest roads in Colombo may be blocked, and therefore it may pose obstructions to the public and private office staff who are heading home after work, and the wholesale trading in Fort, and Pettah.
It added that traffic congestion caused by the protest would also delay the shipping of freight containers expected to reach Colombo from the Biyagama, Wathupitiwala, and Kandy Economic Zones and thus impacting the country’s economy as well.
The letter from the Police Superintendent also added that the protest would lead to traffic congestion affecting the movement of tourists as well.
It added that in order to use a gramophone, loud-speaker, megaphone, amplifier or any other device to generate sound permission needs to be obtained from a Superintendent of Police under Section 80 of the Police Ordinance, and such permission has not been obtained.
It further notes that if there is any traffic congestion or obstruction, necessary measures will have to be taken as per the Police Ordinance and other laws to remove such inconveniences caused to the public.
Human Rights body to monitor protest:
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka reiterates that the Police must NOT use the provisions of the Police Ordinance to violate the fundemental rights declared and recognized by the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The HRCSL made this statement in response to a letter submitted to the Commission by trade unions and mass organizations, informing that the Police had illegally notified them to obtain permission for the peaceful protest set to be held on Wednesday (2).
The HRCSL highlights that peaceful protests arr permitted according to Section 77 of the Police Ordinance.
It warned the Police that the Constitution of Sri Lanka is infact the supreme law of the country, adding that violating fundamental rights would result in serious consequences.
The HRCSL also reminds the Police to pay attention to the recommendations made by the Commission to the Public Security Minister on the 28th of September.
According to the statement, a team attached to the Human Rights Commission will also be deployed to monitor the peaceful protest march.(News First)
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