UNP's protest campaign draws 30 000 protestors in Colombo
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 December 2004, 16:48 GMT]
Around thirty thousand protestors joined in a big protest rally organized by the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in Colombo Tuesday, demanding the release of Mr.S.B.Dissanayake, a UNP parliamentarian who was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court recently, on being found guilty on contempt charge.
The 168 km long protest march by about two hundred mothers, which commenced on December 15 from Vishnu Devale in Hanguranketha in Nuwara Eliya district, first arrived in front of the Welikada prison Tuesday evening. Thereafter protestors marched through Maradana to Hyde Park Corner where a public meeting was held.
Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, former Prime Minister and the leader of UNP and senior parliamentarians Messrs Karu Jayasuriya, John Amarathunge, Gayantha Karunatilake, Joseph Michael Perera and Professor G.L.Peiris addressed the gathering.
Protestors carried placards and shouted slogans against the Supreme Court judgement and the political victimisation by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.
Traffic came to a halt for about six hours when thousands of protestors marched through Kelaniya Bridge.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) also took part in the UNP's protest campaign.
Large number of policemen and army soldiers were deployed along the route to maintain law and order, security sources said.
Dogs were also seen with banners containing the text from the verdict of the Supreme Court. This is viewed as an insult in South Asian cultural context.