Pada Yathra to reach city today amidst tension

By Anura Balasuriya, Pradeep Samarakoon and Chaminda Silva

The Pada Yathra from Kandy to Colombo against the government entered its penultimate phase yesterday with the Joint Opposition protesters resuming the walk from Nitambuwa to Kiribathgoda around 9.30 a.m.

The organisers of Pada Yatra said they anticipated government sponsored moves to disrupt their protest march in Colombo. Nothing would deter them, they said.

The walk was joined by thousands of people carrying banners and shouting slogans against what they called government’s witch hunt against political opponents, removal of farmer subsidies,heavy taxes, ‘constitutional death trap’, postponement of local government elections etc.

The Nittambuwa-Kiribathgoda leg saw more people joining the walk compared with the first, second and third days.

The Pada Yatra proceeded from Kandy via Pilimatalawa, Kadugannwa, Ganetenne, Mawanella, Kegalle, Nelumdeniya, Warakapola, Ambepussa, Pasyala, Nittambuwa, Thihariya, Kalagedihena, Yakkala, Miriswatte, Belummahara, Kirillawela, and Kadawatha to reach Kiribathgoda last evening.

It will embark on its last leg from Kiribathgoda to Colombo today.

The Secretary of Ravana Balaya Organisation Ven. Ittekanda delivered a sermon to the participants.

On Saturday while the walk was taking place from Nelumdeniya to Nittambuwa some tipper trucks moved obstructing the walk.

The participants paid floral tributes at the statue of SLFP stalwart the late Dharmasiri Senanayake after reaching Warakapola and received blessings from the priests at the Badra Kali Kovil in the area.

The Pada Yatra passed the Yakkala town yesterday around 2.30 p.m.

At Yakkala there were some portraits of President Maithripala Sirisena on roads.

After reaching Horagolla, the participants paid tribute the Bandaranaike memorial. In Nittambuwa, the road was decorated with blue flags and party supporters lit crackers.

Those taking part in the walk were served with refreshments by supporters.

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa yesterday said that after seeing the massive crowds taking part in Pada Yatra ruling party members had got jitters.

He said the police were trying to stop the walk on various pretexts, but in vain.

The government was so scared of the walk that it had shamelessly dug up the Hyde Park ground by spending public money.

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