ECONOMYNEXT – Protesters in Sri Lanka’s Aragalaya (struggle) have withdrawn four injunction petitions filed with the Court of Appeal over a court order sought by Fort police.
Protesters who occupied Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka decided to leave the protest site, which they had occupied since April. Fort Police had previously ordered the site to be vacated by August 05, but the Attorney General has pledged that unauthorized structures will not be removed until Wednesday August 10.
An activist told EconmyNext they will leave the Gota Go Gama site taking their tents and other temporary shelters with them, but some structures will remain to mark the enormity of the event and the history that has been changed.
The government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been accused of a concentrated crackdown on Aragalaya, but authorities maintain that all arrests made are legal and against those who broke the law.
Wednesday marked 124 days since the start of the movement and on Tuesday mass protests were planned after Deputy Main Opposition Leader Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, told Parliament on July 27: “The people must forget the misconceptions within himself and unite in the final fight against corrupt politicians and politics.
However, the August 09 demonstration in GotaGoGama had a markedly low turnout. A protester said: “Previously people were with us, but after they got petrol and after the QR code system was put in place, they forgot about corruption, stolen land and money. That’s why we don’t have a crowd.
Analysts say Tuesday’s protest failed to draw the crowds organizers had anticipated for a combination of reasons: protester fatigue, a genuine desire to give President Wickremesinghe a chance, a semblance of normality after what appears to be an end to cooking gas queues and an easing of the fuel crisis, as well as a climate of fear caused by the alleged crackdown.
Lasantha Manoj, a lawyer associated with the Aragalaya, said that just because protesters are dispersing and leaving the protest site does not mean the struggle is over.
“We lay low for a while because our lives are on the line for fighting for the nation. Many told us to accept the victory of ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and move on,” said another prominent protester.
Former President Rajapaksa, it was reported on Wednesday, is set to fly to Thailand from Singapore, where he fled on July 9, after protesters stormed his official residence and compound. offices. (Colombo/August 10, 2022)