Opposition protests against UNF economic policy
[TamilNet, Monday, 12 August 2002, 22:11 GMT]
A protest campaign was held Monday afternoon at Lipton Square, in down town Colombo against the increase of cost of living and privatisation. A procession and rally in commemoration of 1953 'hartal' (general shut down) by leftist political parties was organised by the main opposition People's Alliance (PA) and its trade unions.
"The similar situation as in 1953 has arisen in the country where prices of essential goods have been increased several folds thus making the poor to suffer," said Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, Leader of the Opposition addressing the gathering later.
Mr.Rajapakse appealed to all progressive forces to unite to oust the present government, which has been working against the interests of the working class and ordinary people.
The leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party Mr. Batty Weerakone said, the protest campaign was against the conditions laid down by the International Monetary Fund in provide financial aid to Sri Lanka
He also appealed to all political forces in the country to take steps to abolish the executive presidency system once and for all rather than bringing in piece meal amendments to the present constitution.
The leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Mr.Dinesh Gunawardene said a new programme is needed as no permanent solutions can be found for the burning problems of the country under the present UNF government.
Mr.Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, main constituent of the Peoples' Alliance said that all leftists and progressive forces should unite to prevent the removal of the President by the United National Front government.
Meanwhile the New Left Front and Democratic Left Front organized another rally commemorating the 1953 Hartal in Colombo. Dr.Wickremabahu Karunaratne, leader of the Democratic Left Front said progressive forces in the country should oppose racist policies He appealed to the leader of the opposition Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse to abandon racism and to work for the unity.
Mr.Vasudeva Nanayakara, leader of the New Left Front said that people should rally round to oust the present government not through instigating racism but through unity.