Demonstrations are bane for progress


Internationally, to organize a procession, even a wedding procession, prior approval has to be obtained from the Local Authority after indicating the time and the duration of the procession. The approval will be granted, only if such a procession will not be a hinderance to the general public. If approval is granted, a payment has to be made to the Local Authority for use of the public amenities.

In Sri Lanka, demonstrations by Trade Unions, University Students and others have now become a daily affair. The consequent damage done to the economy, inconvenience to the public, to all road users, including for Emergency Ambulances and Fire Engines, is astronomical.

The contention that people should be given the freedom to express their displeasure of the Government or whatever or whoever, by protest marches, should not be an excuse to penalize the public. The majority of the people who are affected by these protest marches also have their rights and freedom to live peacefully.

Therefore, the government allocating a space to the demonstrators to agitate and express their grievances, in a central location in the city, is a good move, provided the processions are not allowed on public roads up to the point where the demonstrations are to be held.

Farook Ismail


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