Conflicts & War

Sri Lankans protest police violence against demonstrators, children

Colombo, Oct 10 (EFE).- Activists and lawyers protested in Colombo on Monday against the police violence unleashed a day earlier against a demonstration – also attended by children – marking six months of anti-government protests linked to the economic crisis.

“We are here to show that we are not scared of this government. This government fears us, which is why they are harassing children. We will not back down,” one of the protesters, Samali Mandira, told EFE at the iconic Galle Face park, the epicenter of the protests where organizers had camped for months earlier this year.

Joseph Stalin, the secretary of the Sri Lanka Teachers’ Union, alleged that the Sri Lankan authorities were trying to suppress the demonstrations with force, with no respect for human rights.

“They want us to stop protesting. They are saying not to come to protests with families. This is fear-mongering,” he told EFE.

After the police acted against group of protesters on Sunday, images showing officers arresting activists along with their terrified children went viral on social media,

Stalin said that the teachers’ union has lodged a complaint over Sunday’s incident with the National Child Protection Authority.

“Police treat people inhumanely. They have no regard to children,” he alleged.

For months, Sri Lanka has been going through its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, with high inflation aggravating the crisis triggered by the drying up of foreign currency reserves, which forced the government to default on its foreign debt payments in May and negotiate a bailout with IMF that is yet to materialize.

The crisis triggered widespread protests in late March, with thousands of people coming out on the streets to demand the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president at the time.

Protesters had stormed the presidential secretariat on Jul. 9 along with the residences of the president and then prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, forcing Rajapaksa to flee the country and subsequently resign from his post.

Wickremesinghe, who succeeded Rajapaksa as president, has been alleged of carrying out multiple human rights violation to suppress protests.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the executive director of nonprofit Centre for Policy Alternatives, told EFE that hundreds of activists who took part in the protests have been arrested in recent months. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button