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Protestors demand release of arrested union leader

Protestors in Vavuniya staged demonstrations calling for the release of Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union, after he was arrested by Sri Lankan security forces yesterday.

Stalin had been involved in protests calling for former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down in recent months. His arrest, alongside a spate of other protest leaders comes amidst a crackdown by the newly appointed president Ranil Wickremesinghe, which has seen a range of those involved in the demonstrations to be detained – from leading activists to those who simply participated.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor highlighted Stalin’s arrest yesterday, tweeting “the work of Human Rights Defenders like Joseph has been more important than ever in in recent weeks & must be supported, not punished”.

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