Written by Keshala Dias
29 Nov, 2016 | 8:45 pm
On Tuesday, November 29, the Inter University Students Federation commenced a protest march from the Kelaniya University.The aim of the protest was to highlight several concerns including the effect of the 2017 budget on the education sector.
Police took steps to disperse a group of protesting university students who were making their way towards the parliament.
Police also attempted to obtain a court order preventing the university students from entering the parliamentary complex area. However, their request was denied by the Colombo Additional Magistrate.
The Additional Magistrate was of the opinion that a court order was unnecessary as the police posses the power to stop the protesters through the Police Ordinance.
Heavy traffic congestion was reported on many roads in the Colombo area as a result of this protest.
However, as the protesters closed in on the Polduwa Junction in Rajagiriya, police took steps to disperse the crowd.
Divineguma Development Officers together with their management staged a protest close to the Parliament roundabout today (Nov. 29).
The protest was staged citing several concerns including the lack of an appointment letter, lack of pensions, EPF as well as the lack of a Rs.2,500 allowance.
The former Minister Wimal Weerawansa attempted to address the protesters while on his way to the parliamentary complex.
Amid numerous obstructions by the protesters, MP Wimal Weerawansa moved on and a tense situation erupted thereafter between two groups.
However, following the tense situation the protesters proceeded towards Sethsiripaya and later dispersed.
The Government Medical Officers’ Association says that they too will engage in a 24 hour token strike from 8 a.m on Wednesday, November 30, in protest against the impact caused to the medical service through the budget proposals.
Several trade unions in the transportation sector are also launching a strike action against the budget proposals.
Several bus associations are preparing to launch a strike action in opposition to the decision to increase the fines imposed for traffic violations.
Chairman of the Southern Province Private Bus Association Chandana Soyza said, they will commence a continuous countrywide strike starting from midnight on December 2. He stated that the strike will be in effect from Dondra Head to Point Pedro, where not a single bus will operate on that day.
Chairman of the All Island Three-wheeler Owners’ Association Sudil Jayaruk said, they have requested a permanent solution and that a clear statement must be given to us on the fines and other measures.
President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Gemunu Wijeratne said that it is a controversy created by the government themselves as they do not have the legal right to increase fines by Rs. 25,000.
“We must show them that it is not practical to increase the fine through the budget”, he added, “The government must make a clear statement on this by tomorrow”.
Journalist: A media briefing was held where it was said that you are afraid.
Gemunu Wijeratne: No we aren’t. We will not go on strike by putting up a posters. We do those for other issues.
Journalist: Are you saying that the government has no right and power to increase the fine?
Gemunu Wijeratne: No they cannot. Not at this point.
Journalist: So, why are you attending the discussion tomorrow?
Gemunu Wijeratne: No I will not be going. He is the one who is going.
Meanwhile, the Joint Federation of Railway Trade Unions announced that it too will engage in a 24 hour strike on December 2.
Treasurer of the Joint Federation of Railway Trade Unions Chandrasena Bandara said that there is a land robbery taking place at the Railway Department and that they have created a bank that deals with lands.
He went on to note, employees promotions have been taken away and that they are getting ready to recruit employees from outside.
“We make a strong request to put a stop to this harmful act”, he added, “This 24-hour strike action is a red light, we ask the officials not to make this a permanent red light”.
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