‘Sri Lanka subjugated by US new imperialism’ – JVP

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 May 2003, 00:05 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s opposition Thursday charged that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government was taking away workers’ rights under cover of the peace process. Opposition leader, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha, addressing the People’s Alliance May Day rally at Campbell Park in Colombo, said hard won rights of workers in Sri Lanka are being sacrificed to a ‘new-imperialism’. The Janata Vimukthi Peramuna’s (JVP) in its May Day rally in another part of Colombo city accused the ruling United National Front (UNF) of surrendering the country to “western imperialism led by the USA”.

Thousands, clad in red, took part in the JVP march and rally, in a massive but meticulously organised show of the party’s growing power among workers, urban lower middle class and the rural poor. Many party cadres marched wearing military style red uniforms, like well drilled soldiers.

May day rally
"capitalist Demon" in the JVP march

Marchers in the JVP’s May Day procession shouted slogans condemning peace talks between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers and called Mr. Wickremesinghe’s government a stooge of the US.

Addressing the rally at the BRC grounds in Havelock Town, JVP speakers said that Sri Lanka’s economy is being restructured by the UNF to suit the interests of “US new colonialism”.

The party has says that the peace talks are being orchestrated by the US and its allies to destabilise India. (UNF supporters, however, allege that the JVP is being manipulated with a view to minimising the influence of US and Japan in Sri Lanka’s peace process)

May day rally
JVP women cadres marching

Leaders of the Trotskyite Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Sri Lanka Communist Party and Sinhala nationalist Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) also joined the PA march and rally.

The smaller left groups in Colombo, Democratic Left Front led by Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara and the New Left Front led by Dr. Wickremebahu Karunaratna also held a march and rally in the city. They were critical of the UNF’s economic and labour policies but spoke in support of the peace talks.

The ruling UNF did not hold the customary march and rally but had a National May Day exhibition in the city. In the evening the party held a music show at the Colombo Town Hall. Singers from India entertained thousands of revellers at the UNF’s May Day show Thursday night.

May day rally
Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Dr. Wickramabahu at the joint DLF, NLF rally

May day rally
PA march led by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, MEP leader Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena


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