Campaign against war and oppression gets a boost
May day 2007 – Sri Lanka
Best ever May Day for United Socialist Party
In spite of considerable panic in the press and among the people following aerial bombings by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka) held its best ever May Day march and rally in the capital, Colombo, last Monday. Because of a major religious festival and holiday on 1 – 2 May, most of the traditional Mayday marches were held on the last day of April.
The turn-out for the government People’s Alliance, with all their resources and media publicity, was well down on previous years – 5,000 rather than last year’s 10,000. But the USP got a record response! Around one hundred and fifty USP members marched and over four hundred people gathered to listen to the speeches from the outdoor stage.
The event was extremely colourful and had a defiant air. The USP has been to the fore in fighting against war and against capitalist and oppression. It has received national and international recognition for its courageous campaigns. Recently there has been a renewed attempt to label them supporters of terrorism, after a meeting held through the Civil Monitoring Commission with the parents of ‘disappeared’ Tamils holding photographs and protesting against the government’s failure to act against known abductors.
In this context, the local police force was obliged to give maximum protection to the USP May Day march and rally. The road was cordoned off and the democratic right to hold a safe opposition rally was achieved, not least because of the angry international and local protests at the breaking up by thugs of a previous meeting that the USP was involved in organising on January 9 this year. (See reports carried on this site).
Press reporters and TV cameras were at the USP rally and items were carried on the two main channels that evening. But coverage of Buddha’s birthday celebrations around the country crowded out reports in the press. But at least one paper, Lak Bima, has carried a report and photo. Socialistworld.net will carry a fuller report of the event and the situation in Sri Lanka soon.
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