Court orders Police report on breaking of peace

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By Hansi Nanayakkara

Colombo Additional Magistrate Harshana Kekunawela yesterday (18) ordered the Fort Police to report to Court, via a ‘B’ Report, if any acts of breaking of public peace or any other disturbance are created by the protesters who are currently demonstrating against the Government opposite the Presidential Secretariat and around Galle Face Green.

He also advised the Police to investigate any such incident in detail and then make submissions to Court.

The Additional Magistrate gave this order, having considered submissions made to him via an ‘A’ Report by Fort Police, which stated that they were presently probing the on-going protest staged near the Presidential Secretariat, in the Fort Police Division, within the Galle Face in Colombo.

Police, via their report stated that the protest opposite the Presidential Secretariat had kicked off on 9 April.

They pointed out that protesters, as part of their campaign, demanded the incumbent President and the Government to step down while demanding all 225 MPs to follow suit.

They stated that the protesters had used various social media platforms to gather momentum for their anti-Government campaign.

The Police explained that since 9 April morning more than 5,000 people had converged at the protest site from various parts of the country and observed that all of them had been apolitical.

Fort Police told the Additional Magistrate, that their inquiries had revealed that the protesters had continued to construct at least 100 temporary tents, sanitation facilities, toilets, stages, food storage facilities, first aid facilities, libraries along with mobile phone facilities at the protest site, all the while blocking the entrance to the Presidential Secretariat.

They further stated that the probe conducted by them, had revealed that Buddhist clergy, religious leaders of various other faiths, civil society activists, artistes, sports stars and people from various other professions and from all walks of life, continue to support the protest.

The Police told the Court, that they had also noticed that the protesters continue to use public address systems, while conducting religious events, shows and musical events, while blocking traffic on the Galle Road.

The Fort Police noted that due to this situation, the traffic flow on the Galle Road at Galle Face Green and opposite the Presidential Secretariat had been seriously affected both at day and at night.

The Police added that due to various plastic materials being released to the Galle Face Green, a serious environment hazard has taken place and they observed that many thefts had also taken place at the protest site, while numerous others had also been forced to be admitted to hospital with various ailments suffered while being involved in the protest.

The Police explained that already one person had died at the protest site, due to a heart attack and noted that they were conducting a separate probe into it.

They informed Magistrate Kekunawela that due to the actions of the protesters, severe traffic congestion had also been witnessed during the past nine-days around the protest site.

The Police pointed out that Police teams summoned from various parts of the country had been placed at strategic points and on standby, to monitor the situation and if any need arise, they stated that such Police teams will be used to maintain public peace and arrest those violating it.

They stated that they will continue to inspect the situation around the clock and told the Court that if any acts of breaking of public peace were to take place, they will report it to Court via a ‘B’ Report at the earliest.