JO to launch broad-based national movement
The Joint Opposition (JO) will launch a broad-based national movement
urging the people to rally against the government. It will be marked
with a four-day protest march that would commence on July 28 from Kandy
and expected to reach Colombo on August 01. The march which will take
the form of a national movement which will kick off opposite the Sri
Dalada Maligawa, Kandy on July 28.
There have been isolated protests in towns and institutions
islandwide against the undemocratic moves of the Government. The JO has
focused its attention on the goings-on in Parliament and inaction in the
area of good governance.
“Now it is time to organise a mass movement along with the JO to
demonstrate public anger against the Government,” former Minister and
LSSP Leader Prof. Tissa Vitarana told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
During the 1988-1989 terror rule, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa
launched a protest march from Tissamaharama to Colombo galvanising
people into action. It is high time to do something innovative like that
to rally the people to protest against the anti-democratic moves of the
government, he said.
Prof. Vitarana said we have had some preliminary discussions
regarding this. All political parties in the JO will participate in this
protest march. The key issues are:The breakdown in good governance,
indefinitely postponing Local Government Elections and the unbearable
escalation of the cost of living.
“We would pressurise the Government to remove VAT from essential food
commodities and also protest against the measures to curtail jobs,’ he
said. At present, 12,000 CTB employees have been issued notice asking
them to go on early retirement. The Government has also curtailed
welfare measures. The ban on the sale of land and property to foreigners
has also been removed and now foreigners were being encouraged to take
control of our economy once again. We are going to oppose all these
moves,” he said. “Meanwhile, we are going to be a part of the military
machinery of the US by giving the Trincomalee base and also acquiring
fighter planes for the Air Force, when there is no war or threat to our
We have been absorbed into the American empire thereby serving the
interests of the American military and economy. We are protesting
against the re-colonisation of our country,” he said.
JO sources said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa along with other
civic organisations, the public who have been severely affected by VAT,
government servants whose jobs were at stake, doctors, engineers, others
professionals who were against Economic and Technological Cooperation
Agreement (ETCA) with India would join the protest march.