Opposition parties deny involvement in citizens’ protests

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By Methmalie Dissanayake

Several Opposition parties yesterday (31) said, they are not behind organising islandwide street protests against the conduct of the incumbent Government.

Islandwide street protests against the national crises in governance have been organised on Sunday (3), by citizens’ movements with no political party affiliation.

The protests will be held under the theme ‘Rise against corruption as a nation’. 

The hashtag #EnoughIsEnough is trending on social media at the moment. 

This movement uses social media platforms to organise and create awareness. Silent protests have been held in the past few days in several areas, including near the President’s residence in Mirihana yesterday (31). 

However, confusion have arisen when several political figures including Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and MP Rajitha Senaratne requested the people to participate in the street protests. 

It has been alleged that the protests are attempts to create chaos in the country and are organised by certain political parties under the pretext of citizen movements.

The UNP said it will not participate in the protests on Sunday. 

“The UNP will not be joining any protest organised by anonymous groups. We are committed to conducting our Sathyagraha campaign around the country. The next Sathyagraha will be held in Matara on 6 April,” the party tweeted. 

The Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) warned the people to not be misled in such a crucial situation. 

“The country is indeed in a deep crisis. Everyone should show their objections against the current governance which has placed the country in this abyss. The public has every right to protest against the Government. However, we request the public to be careful about unorganised protests. Because there could be dangers even in such honest attempts when protests are unorganised,” the JJB said, adding it would never take credit for independent citizens’ protests against the crises in the country. 

Eleven constituent parties in the Government also said they have no role in organising the protests on Sunday. 

In a statement, National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa said reports that he supports the protests are completely false. 

“Rajitha Senaratne and Sajith Premadasa are openly inviting people to participate in the protests. Therefore, we can assume that these protests might be organised by the Samagi Janabalawegaya (SJB). We will never ever support protests organised by SJB because they are the ones who laid the foundation stone for this crisis. We request all the citizens not to be victims of a Sri Lankan version of the Arab Spring,” Weerawansa said. 

Meanwhile, SJB General Secretary Ranijth Maddumabandara clarified that the SJB is not organising the protests on Sunday (3) but will only support it. 

“We are only coming to the protests to support the people who have organised them on social media,” he added.