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Friday, March 1, 2024

Sri Lanka: Police and a pro-government gang intimidate and threaten peaceful women protesters


The Free Media Movement expresses its concern that the police and the pro government violent gangs are continuing to violate the people’s inalienable right to peaceful assembly in Sri Lanka disrupting and threatening them.

On 2nd December 2013 a peaceful protest of women’s groups against the hate speech churn out by the state controlled radio station, the Sri Lanka Broad Casting Cooperation was disrupted, hooted and intimidated by the pro government gang of men for an hour.  The police while gesturing their support to the violent gang grabbed the placards of the women and set them on fire.  As the photographic evidence published by the www.vikapla.org  shows senior Superintend of Police Premalal  Ranagala himself was  intimidating and threatening the peaceful protestors.

The women was protesting against the live hate speech programme moderated by SLBC chairman Hudson Samarasinghe against well known human rights activist Nimalka Fernando  on 4th November .

 Eye witness told the FMM that gangs had collected stones and bottles to attack the women protestors. Some of the gangsters are believed to be staff members of the SLBC. Police did not take any action to control the unruly gang of pro government supporters but pushed the peaceful protestors cornering them to a small space.

 FMM would like to reiterate that right to peaceful assembly is a recognised right of the people and a part of their fundamental right of free expression. As the agency entrusted to maintain the rule of law in the country the duty of the police is to guarantee that people enjoy these fundamental rights. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka today the police have become a political tool in the hands of ruling regime suppressing those rights they are entrusted to defend.

While strongly condemning the police and pro government gangs  who intimidated and threatened the peaceful women protestors the FMM calls on the government to ensure peoples right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. 

Sunil Jayasekara, Convener, FMM


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