Outraged Weliweriya protester..

DailyMirror.lk newspaper

Usual suspects: Tamil diaspora provoked Weliweriya protesters says SL media

Independent Television Network News (ITN News) reports : ' Information has also been received that the Tamil Diaspora which was behind the process of destabilizing the country through demonstrations in the past were involved in this process to provoke the innocent people. Security sectors disclosed that these conspirators had steered 34 protest campaigns within last month . It has also been confirmed that certain Non Governmental Organizations had even been directly involved in providing free food and drink to those who were staging the demonstrations . Details are also surfacing of the...

Second Weliweriya protestor dies

A second protestor involved in the Weliweriya demonstration has died, after being wounded by troops who fired on the villagers. There is a heavy presence of Special Task Force soldiers and armed police in the village, according to the AFP. "People are afraid to go outside of their houses because of the security forces' presence," A. Siridamma, the senior Buddhist monk in the area told reporters. The US embassy in Colombo has expressed concern about the incidents in a statement. “The U.S. Embassy is concerned about the violence in yesterday’s protest in Weliweriya, and urges the Government of...

Legal profession speaks out on civilian killings

A Sri Lankan lawyers’ organisation, the Lawyers Collective, strongly condemned the Sri Lankan government’s harsh action on the Weliweriya protests. In a statement the organisation said that it condemned the government attacks on peaceful protestors, stating , “In a constitutional democracy, attacking peaceful unarmed protestors or disrupting legitimate civil activities of the citizens is not a legitimate objective of the Armed Forces or the law enforcement authorities.” “Lawyers are shocked but not at all surprised with the dubious post-event pronouncements of the State media and government...

Fonseka set on outlining pertinent issues to Navi Pillay

The Sri Lankan government have outlined that there will be no restrictions placed on the movements of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay during her visit to Sri Lanka. Speaking to the Sunday Leader, former Army Commander , Sarath Fonseka spoke of his intention of to outline the lack of democracy and justice that he faced when being jailed after the 2010 presidential elections.

Vaiko arrested as Tamil Nadu protests against Indian PM

A protest was held at Trichy airport in Tamil Nadu earlier today, condemning India's decision to support Sri Lanka in hosting the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November, as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to visit the state. The protest organised by the MDMK, saw over 500 people arrested at Trichy airport, including MDMK General Secretary Vaiko. They have yet to be charged. Speaking to Tamil Guardian, Thirumurugan Gandhi from the May 17th Movement said, "We wanted to display black flags to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh beacuse of his support for Sri Lanka. Without India's support Sri Lanka would not have had the opportunity to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting - India's role made it possible for them to host it." "We are protesting against the India Prime Minister for supporting a genocidal government with their pro-Sri Lanka stand, and condemn his actions. That is why we are raising black flags during his visit to Trichy." "We are calling for the cancellation of CHOGM in Sri Lanka, and the May 17th Movement as well as other organisations are joining Vaiko's call."

Military shoot at protesters in Weliweriya

One person was shot dead and 15 wounded when the Sri Lankan military opened fire at 4000 Sinhala protesters in Weliweriya on yesterday evening. The protesters had been demonstrating against the pollution of water with chemical emissions from a nearby factory. After using tear gas in an attempt to break up the protest, clashes broke out between the police and the protesters, before the military stepped in and opened fire. The police spokesperson Buddika Siriwardene confirmed that one person had died and 15 others have been admitted to hospital. According to the Washington Post , video footage of the incident shows 'soldiers shooting at running protesters'. See here and here . This morning, the government's news portal, News.lk , reported: ' Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that the Weliweriya drinking water dispute was settled satisfactorily. He has said that in the meantime certain vested elements provoked the villagers into needless confrontations. Rajapaksa has said that the protesting public were satisfied with the solution offered to close a factory, which was supposed to cause contamination of water in the area, but those with political motives provoked some of the residents for staging protests .' In a statement today, the US embassy in Sri Lanka said : ' The U.S. Embassy is concerned about the violence in yesterday’s protest in Weliweriya, and urges the Government of Sri Lanka to respect the rights of people to protest peacefully, and urges restraint from all sides . ' Meanwhile, in an op-ed published today, Sri Lanka's former Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and Vice–President of the UN Human Rights Council, Dayan Jayatilleka, outlined his central concern regarding the shooting. "How will the world view Sri Lanka after the events of yesterday?" asks Jayatilleka, adding, " the obvious observations will be, if this is how the State authorities treat unarmed Sinhalese, largely Buddhist civilian men, women and children who are protesting against polluted water, how must that state have treated the Tamils in the closing stages of the war? "

Rajapakse invites Pope to SL

After recent comments by Pope Francis that he was considering a visit to Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse has officially extended an invitation for the Pope to visit the island and see the government’s commitment to “ensuring equity, harmony and sustainable economic, social and cultural development”. Rajapakse also said “The Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has played a pivotal role over the years in improving the lives of the citizenry, particularly in the fields of education, healthcare and social service,” “The Church’s services for acceleration of post-conflict reconstruction,...

Army commander warns of external national security 'threat'

Newly appointed Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake has warned that as the country heads towards ‘political reconciliation’ new forms of threat may emerge against national security. Ratnayake outlined that overseas ‘separatist extremists’ posed a threat to the country and that the army should undergo restructuring and develop innovative strategies to help to combat such threat. The Commander also spoke of progress the Sri Lankan military structure had made in becoming a peace-keeping force, highlighting his intention to, “further expand this project and enable more and more...

‘Insulting’ 196-year old British cemetery may be moved

The Cultural Affairs Minister TB Ekanayake has said the government is looking at moving the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy, as it is located at a higher elevation than the Temple of the Tooth . The minister said it is an insult to the tooth artefact, believed by Buddhists to be Buddha’s actual tooth, for a cemetery to be on the land of the temple and it was the government’s responsibility to keep it as an area of purity and sanctity . The cemetery is currently maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the minister has said he already held discussions with British High...