Pada Yathra on 2nd day draws massive crowds

March restricted to one lane in Kegalle


Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa leads Pada Yathra on its second day. Joint Opposition MPs and supporters at the commencement of the march (pic by Saman Abesiriwardena)

From Anura Balasuriya in Nelumdeniya and Cyril Wimalasurendre

The Pada Yathra organised by the Joint Opposition from Kandy to Colombo against the government entered the second day yesterday (29). It resumed from Uthuwankanda, Mawanella at 10.30 am. 

The protesters avoided the Mawanella bazaar ordered out of bounds for the procession by court.

The protestors carried banners with slogans such as "Stop the political witch hunt", "Don’t arrest soldiers", "Hold the postponed LG elections", "No foreign war crimes courts", "Stop removal of subsidies for people" and "Ninety two ministers; What’s is the difference".

A large number of people joined the walk enthusiastically yesterday.

Although the police had filed a petition seeking a ban the protesters walking through the Kegalle town, the judge on Thursday ordered the police to allow the protesters to use one lane of the road.

There was a massive crowd in the Kegalle town cheering and joining the Pada Yathra.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was present at the commencement of the Pada Yathra at a point outside the Mawanella town to greet a cheering crowd. The walk proceed to Kegalla amidst cheering and greeting of residents along the highway.

A policeman handed over to MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage a copy of an interim injunction obtained by the police restricting the protesters to use only one lane and they complied with the court decision.

On the second day, the JO supporters walked from Uthuwankanda to Nelumdeniya. UPFA MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanpila, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Gamini Lokuge, P. B. Ratnayake, Namal Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa also took part in the protest march.

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