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Sri Lanka: Presidential Crackdown on Protests Imminent

With a view to contain, spiraling protests that had led the former President of the country Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee, and Extraordinary Gazette notification has been issued by the Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, by order of the President on February 27.

The Notification states that President Wickremesinghe, considering it necessary that the services provided by any state institution which is engaged in provision of the specified services, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted, declared the services specified below to be an essential public service

1. Public transports services for passengers or goods.

2. The discharge, carriage, landing, storage, delivery and removal of articles of food or drink, or of coal, oil or fuel from vessels within any port as defined for the purposes of the Customs Ordinance (Chapter 235)

3. The provision and maintenance of facilities for transport services by road, rail or air, including roads, bridges, culverts, airports, ports and railway lines.

As per Colombo Page the declaration comes in the wake of the announcement made by the Professional Trade Union Alliance (PTUA) that 40 trade unions from various sectors will engage in an island wide token strike on, 1st of March against the government’s oppressive tax policy.

NPP Protests

The notification comes even as Sri Lanka police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse a protest march held by the National People’s Power (NPP) on February 26 in the Town Hall area of Colombo. Colombo page reported that 28 people were injured and admitted to the Colombo National Hospital.

The NPP was protesting postponement of the local government elections

The protestors disregarded a court order and tried to march towards Colombo Fort by marching through the Ibbanwala Junction from the Town Hall area of Colombo and the police intervened to prevent the march.

The court order was issued against 26 persons including the NPP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake from marching towards Galle Face through several roads in Colombo and entering areas around the President’s Office, President House and the Finance Ministry premises from 01 pm - 08 pm on 26th Feb as per the Colombo Page.

Meanwhile there were rumours that Prime Minister is resigning to make wave for Mahenda Rajapaksa.

However Prime Minister’s Office denied the same saying that there is no truth whatsoever in the media reports that Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena would resign from his post.


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