Undergrads to stage overnight protest in Colombo tomorrow


by Dasun Edirisinghe

Undergraduates from all universities will launch an overnight protest in Colombo Fort tomorrow demanding the release of Convener of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Lahiru Weerasekera, who is currently held on remand.

Acting IUSF Convener Sanath Bandara told The Island that more than 2500 university students would gather near the Fort railway station at 10am tomorrow and protest there until 10 am the following day.

"This government’s methods of suppressing students’ struggles are worse than those employed by previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime," Bandara said.

He said they expected to deliver 80,000 leaflets to educate people on the suppression of university students by this government during their overnight protest.

"Several trade unions and leftist parties have already pledged solidarity with us and they will stage a demonstration opposite the Fort railway station at 4.00 pm tomorrow in support of our protest," Bandara said adding that the protest would also urge the government to abolish or acquire Malabe Private Medical College (South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine – SAITM).

The student activist said they would stage a cultural and musical show in protest against the arrest of Weerasekera from 8.00pm tomorrow as part of their protest campaign.

Protest marches and demonstrations demanding the release of their leader would be held at HNDA Institutions in Kandy, Naiwala and Kandy, Sri Jayewardenepura, Ragama and Colombo medical faculties, Rajarata, Wayamba, South Eastern and Visual and Performing Arts universities today, Bandara said.

Asked what their options would be if the police got a court order preventing gatherings in Colombo Fort, Bandara said they would go ahead with their protest without violating court orders.

On Friday, Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne remanded IUSF Convener Weerasekera till July 15 over violating a court order on June 16 during a protest march in Colombo Fort.

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