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Jaffna families of disappeared resist police intimidation and court bans to protest for their missing relatives

Despite the numerous injunctions and restrictions imposed, the families of the disappeared braved Sri Lankan police intimidation to carry out protests demanding the whereabouts of their missing loved ones.

Rejecting the Sri Lankan Independence Day and referring to it as a ‘black day’ instead, the families of disappeared demonstrated in front of Jaffna Central Bus Stand at 10 am today.

Jaffna police officers who arrived at the site of the protest, read out a court order stating that all protests are banned, and sternly told the peaceful demonstrators to leave as the protest could not proceed.

The order also stated specific individuals who were not permitted to take part in demonstrations, but the families of the disappeared resisted the efforts taken by the police to disrupt the protest. Despite the police’s best efforts, the families of the disappeared continued with their protests.

Sri Lankan courts across the North-East issued court bans against the current peaceful protest from Pottuvil to Polikandi, which began yesterday. Vavuniya Magistrates issued an order against the families of the disappeared who have planned protests and hunger strikes later today, stating the protest “would cause damage to public health in light of the coronavirus pandemic” and prohibited “any activities that will draw attention to the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva”.

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