ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka police arrested 84 people including three monks and four women on Saturday in capital Colombo for what law implementing body said was “illegal” and “without any permission” a day after President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared several war-time high security zones in Colombo.
Saturday’s protest by Socialist Youth Union, a youth movement of Marxists Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna (JVP) was not held within a high security and the police fired tear gas and water cannons before the arrests. The protest was against Wickremesinghe government’s repressive measures on dissents.
The protest comes a day after Wickremesinghe declared the HSZ, what protest leaders said was with an aim to prevent anti-government protests against the government failure to reduce unbearable cost of living and unaffordable food prices in the coming days.
The protests that started from the Lipton Circle near the country’s main hospital in capital Colombo went towards nearby market area in Maradana before being blocked by the Police forces in front of the Ministry of Health.
The protest, named New Energy for the Aragalaya (Struggle), is part of an agitation the Marxists expect to continue to change the governance system in the country while eliminating corruption.
“The protest has been organized illegally without any permission by the police,” Police Spokesman Nihal Thalduwa told EconomyNext on Saturday.
“We gave warnings several times for the protesters to disperse from the area, but despite the warnings they continued the protest eventually blocking the roads disturbing the general public.”
However, the JVP youth wing said they do not need any permission to express their frustration.
“We do not need any permission. This will be dealt with legal measures on Monday,” a JVP leader told EconomyNext asking not to be named.
The police is expected to produce the arrested 84 to court in the coming days, police said. (Colombo/ Sept24/2022)