Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Sri Lankan police arrest garment factory protesters in Mullaitivu

Sri Lankan police have arrested ten people, including the provincial council’s deputy chairman for Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaitivu, following protests against the reopening of a garment factory amidst fears of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading. 

The reopening of the garment factory follows orders from Sri Lanka’s President that Governors and District Secretaries should continue the operations of development plants and factories so as to avoid an economic collapse. This order comes as Sri Lanka continues to struggle with the pandemic which has claimed an estimated 1,656 lives. In early May, Public Health Inspectors reported that Sri Lanka has a higher COVID infection rate than India per capita.

In the last few days, TNA MP Vino Noharathalingam and the garment factory administration sent letters to the President urging the garment factory to not be opened until it was deemed safe to do so and to prevent the risk of another outbreak. The letter urged for all employees to be vaccinated and provision of better facilities to monitor the employees, before they were rushed back in to the factory. Despite the strong condemnation and protests, the factory was reopened.

The Sri Lankan military has faced criticism for its heavy-handed approach to the pandemic which has been seen to exacerbate ethnic divides and implicated the military in the abuse of factory workers.

Sri Lanka's police were also seen stopping buses, that were carrying employees from the Pudukudiyiruppu factory to the Kilinochchi factory, and conducting three arrests.

The ten people arrested by the police were later released on bail.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.