Photo of hartal in Jaffna
Responding to the widespread hartal across the North-East, in protest of Sri Lankan attempts to ban the commemoration of those who gave their lives for Tamil rights, Ceylon’s Teachers Union has called on educators to stand in solidarity with the protest movement.
This hartal the most wide-spread protest in Sri Lanka since Rajapaksa took power last year.
The Ceylon Teachers Union has released the following statement:
- “Calling on the Education Ministries of the North and Eastern Provinces to postpone examinations scheduled for today
- Calling on parents to cognisant of heightened military and security response to the hartal and keep children at home
- Calling on all teachers of the North and Eastern Provinces to not fear reprisals and call in sick to strengthen the protest action.
- Calling on the government of Sri Lanka to ensure the cultural and political right to memorialisation”
According to a member of the Vali East Pradeshiya Sabha (a provincial government body), who had met with shopkeepers threatened by Sri Lankan security forces and ordered to reopen their shops, schools were also closely monitored.
Speaking to reporters he said;
“When the deputy governor and I went and talked to the shop owners, they said they had been threatened by the police and military investigators to open the shops themselves. Army dignitaries who arrived in a Pajero-type vehicle disrupted the front and rear of my vehicle several times and took videos in front of Achuveli Central College. This is something that threatens me like a dictator”.
“Even now there is a tense situation here. The military is monitoring the situation with the help of shops. Achuveli police threatened to arrest you. I told the police that I would ask the shopkeepers in person if they were threatened and the shops were left open. Some shops have been opened here due to military threat.”