Police say no to Jaffna Church peace march
[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 December 2000, 20:13 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Police Thursday refused permission to the Catholic church in the north to go on a peace procession in Jaffna town. A Catholic church spokesman said that the Police denied permission for the procession on the grounds that the security situation in the Jaffna town did not permit it. He said the march had been organised as a remembrance of a saint of the church.
The church had planned the march in the Jaffna town to urge the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers to work together for peace. The church spokesman said that permission for the procession was earlier granted by an officer but was later withdrawn later on very flimsy grounds.
All manner of processions, sit-ins, marches, rallies and public meetings require extensive scrutiny by the intelligence and defence arms of the Sri Lankan security forces in the north and east before clearance is granted.
The regulations regarding any civil society action within accepted democratic norms are very severe to the point of completely prohibiting all manner of peaceful expression of public sentiment and protest in the Tamil majority areas of the northern and eastern parts of the island.