Official Press Release from Stakeholders of the #GoHomeGota Movement
Since March 2022, a citizens’ protest movement has been gaining momentum in different parts of the country, targeted at resolving the economic, social and political crisis in Sri Lanka that has been exacerbated by the Rajapaksa regime headed by the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The symbolic zenith of this movement is the #GotaGoGama protest site at the Galle Face Green, Colombo.
We believe that #GoHomeGota is becoming a global solidarity movement against corrupt leadership, as well as a new socio-political model of what an inclusive society should be. As such, the main protest site #GotaGoGama includes a school, a library, a recycling program, places of worship, sleeping and dining areas, and a public dialogue space, all created with the intention of modelling an inclusive society that is more politically awakened to their rights and responsibilities as citizens of Sri Lanka.
While the peaceful, non-violent nature of the protest has garnered positive international attention, the #GoHomeGota protest also holds a special place in the hearts of the Sri Lankan public. At the main protest site #GotaGoGama, the ordinary citizen finds an outlet for the expression of the pain inflicted on the general public by the corrupt Rajapaksa regime, as well as a glimmer of hope for a world untainted by the regressiveness of the Rajapaksas’ political
However, on the 9th of May, 2022, Mahinda Rajapaksa, members of his family, as well as supporters of his party (including provincial and local council members ) staged a violent attempt to suppress the power of the people by attacking #GotaGoGama. This state-sponsored attempt was carried out through bribery and other coercive means.
“We also believe that it is is a very positive sign that almost all the parties involved in the non-violent protests are actively attempting to seek solutions for Sri Lanka’s multifaceted crisis.”
On the morning of the 9th, the aforementioned provincial and local council members brought loyal supporters to Temple Trees, intoxicated them, and incited violence against the peaceful, non-violent protest at Galle Face through hate speech. Subsequently, these henchmen raided the #GotaGoGama site at Galle Face as well as its sister site #Mynagogama at Temple Trees, destroying tents and brutally attacking non- violent, unarmed protestors.
This attack angered members of the general public who stood in solidarity with the #GoHomeGota protest. The pain they felt upon seeing the violence inflicted on their beloved protest site and innocent people (who were merely exercising their fundamental rights) compelled them to retaliate harshly against those who had taken part in the attack.
We genuinely believe that the more non-violent and peaceful our protest is, the faster our eventual goals will be realized. Therefore we call on all parties to join us as we return to the path of peace and nonviolence to collectively address our urgent economic and political crisis.
As stakeholders of the #GoHomeGota protest, we strongly condemn all forms of violence, be it State-sponsored violence perpetrated on peaceful protesters or reactive violence triggered by the destruction of #GotaGoGama.
We have achieved many milestones through our #GoHomeGota protest that has unified the hearts of all Sri Lankans. We genuinely believe that the more non-violent and peaceful our protest is, the faster our eventual goals will be realized. Therefore we call on all parties to join us as we return to the path of peace and nonviolence to collectively address our urgent economic and political crisis.
We also believe that it is is a very positive sign that almost all the parties involved in the non-violent protests are actively attempting to seek solutions for Sri Lanka’s multifaceted crisis. As stakeholders of a collective protest movement, we may generate different solutions based on our own perceptions and varying expertise. While we respect and acknowledge these different pathways to resolve our current crisis, we are working on producing a collective agenda that all parties can agree on; we hope to submit a draft for public review in the very near future. We hope that this document will be received positively by those in the political and civilian spheres
of society who are working on developing solutions to this crisis.
Let us all come together and build our country back better through the path of peace and non-violence!