Sri Lanka: Attacks on journalists condemned

Sri Lanka has once again lived up to its reputation as one of the most dangerous places for a journalist to work

Sri Lanka has once again lived up to its reputation as one of the most dangerous places for a journalist to work.

More than 4,000 students, protesting on 14 October against the government’s attack on democratic rights and its ill treatment of Sri Lanka’s former army chief, Sarath Fonseka, were attacked by the police. Journalists, there to report the protest, were also attacked despite showing their press cards.

On 19 October hundreds of media personnel, activists and socialists joined together in a massive protest against this attack on journalists.

The United Socialist Party, the Working Journalists Association, the Free Media Movement and others took part in the demonstration. Protesters marched around Lipton Circus angrily holding their press cards tied with black ribbon.

“This attack on journalists is not an accident” stated Siritunga Jayasuriya, general secretary of the United Socialist Party (CWI in Sril Lanka), who took part in the protest.

“These attacks have been happening since Mahinda Rajapakse came to power. So far not a single attacker has been brought in front of the law. Why can’t those who attack the journalists be punished? The government and the police should take responsibility for these attacks. They fear that the journalists may expose their corruptions and crimes. Not only is the government refusing to take any action but the president shamefully thanked the police for the attack, stating also that he is thanking the police for the first time. It’s absolutely shameful” Siritunga said.

On 20 October one paper reported that the president of the Inter city student union, Udul Premaratne, will be arrested in connection with the organising of the student protest. The government is vehemently attempting to silence all forms of opposition with brutal force.

It is time that we come together to defend our democratic rights.

USP (CWI in Sri Lanka) protests

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October 2010