Police fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesting university students

Police fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesting university students

Written by Staff Writer

19 Jun, 2018 | 8:26 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – University students staged a demonstration obstructing the entrance point to the Parliamentary Complex over the unresolved SAITM issue. The demonstration ended following the intervention of the Police.

The demonstration began at the University of the Visual & Performing Arts and proceeded on foot towards Parliament. It resulted in heavy traffic congestion in and around Rajagariya. As the protesters approached the parliament roundabout, the police attempted to stop the protesters. The university students pressed forward toppling the first set of barricades placed by the Police.

Thereafter the Police used water cannons and tear gas to stop the protesters from advancing towards Parliament.

According to Police data, a minimum of four protests are held in a day in and around Colombo. As a result, the roads in and around Colombo remain blocked. Attorney-at-Law Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa stated that the trade unions have their freedom, but, the issue is that people lose 40 to 50 billion rupees a year while being stuck in traffic due to daily Satyagraha campaigns and strike actions. He added that another issue is that people have to spend hours in a bus for them to reach home from work. In other countries, people cannot book the roads to go on rallies, they have to allocate a government-owned area, said Dr. Mahanamahewa.

In May this year, bus drivers in Japan went on strike over several demands but it was no ordinary industrial dispute. They were still working during the strike, driving around picking up passengers. But they did not do a key part of the job, which was accepting fares. But here in Sri Lanka, struggles and battles are more targeted at inconveniencing the than the rulers.

How fair is it to cause inconvenience among a majority of the people in the country to fulfill the agendas of a few? And against a backdrop where the Rupee only seems to be depreciating and the vegetable prices soaring, is it right to put the general public under such pressure in exchange for various objectives?

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