A protest march organized by the Inter University Students’ Federation was held yesterday. The students went on a demonstration demanding the government to,
- 1. Increase Mahapola and Bursary payment to Rs.5000
- 2. Increase Funds for Education
- 3. Increase Workers’ Wages
- 4. Abolish the Fraud Private Medical College in Malambe
- 5. End Privatization
- 6. End Tuition fees for External Degrees
- 7. End Repression of students
- 8. End Militarization
- 9. End Charging Fees at Schools
The protest march started from the University of Visual and Performing Arts and headed to the Parliament Complex in Sri Jayawardhanepura Kotte. As the students’ march closed down on the parliament the police used barricades to stop the students. However, students continued to march towards the parliament and the police used water cannons and tear gas to dissolve the students.
2o students were injured as a result of the police’s attack on the march and 12 were hospitalized out of which 2 have suffered fractions in the leg.
The students are from the Universities of Jayawardhanapura and Visual and Performing Arts.
It is believed that the injuries were caused because the police fired the canisters of tear gas directly at the students, instead of firing them to the sky.
A notable difference in the protest yesterday were the clear indicators of police using tear gas attacks, deliberately to injure the students instead of with the intention of dissolving the crowd. First, the tear gas was fired to the front of the march, however when the students who had trouble breathing as a result of the effect of tear has started running back, they had to meet with another round of tear gas fired to the centre of the crowd, which made the impact worse on the already affected students. When the students tried to approach the lake on both sides of the road and take shelter in among the trees on both sides, tear gas was fired directly to the sides as well.
The attack yesterday was a sinister attack made with the deliberate intention of injuring students. Thus the high number of injured.
It is ironic that a group of students who came to make their voices heard were attack so brutally, in front on the Parliament, the very institution that is said to be protecting the sovereign powers of the people.
Please stand in solidarity with the students of Sri Lanka who are facing a systematic repression.
Students for Human Rights – Sri Lanka