President, former PM should be arrested – Jayagoda

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The President, former Prime Minister, and anyone else responsible for the attack on peaceful protestors on 9 May should be arrested immediately, Education Secretary of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Pubudu Jayagoda said.

“Citizens have peacefully protested for over a month and have achieved their first victory with the Prime Minister‘s resignation. However, they have not fully realised their success, and the President’s resignation would be the protestor’s ultimate success,” he said.

Commenting on the riot, he said peace-loving citizens were branded as criminals, when government thugs roam the streets freely. “The riot was actually started by Rajapaksa supporters and now, the Government is blaming the public for responding. This is totally wrong and the Government should understand that people’s power is greater than the power of political leaders,” he added.

“Even after many struggles, people exercised restraint. However, the riot was deliberately created by the Government and the Rajapaksas, and people should end violence against the Government. We will not allow anyone to harm the public again, and will provide our full support and protection,” Jayagoda said.

 He further alleged that Western Province SDIG, Deshabandu Tennakoon and Defence Secretary, Kamal Gunaratne are linked to the riot and they should be suspended pending an investigation.

“A State of Emergency and curfew will not intimidate the public and they will continue to protest against the Government until the President leaves,” he said.

Meanwhile, a socio-political activist, Vidarshana Kannangara, who experienced the riot on Monday, said they only acted in self-defence. “Also, during the riot, the Police chose to look the other way and the public protected everyone,” he added.

He further said Kamal Gunaratne is not fit to be the Defence Secretary and he was appointed all of a sudden on Monday night.

“We need answers to our demands and if not, we will continue to fight for our rights. In addition, do not disturb the peaceful protesters and we kindly request the Police not to harm protesters,” Kannangara said.

By Eunice Ruth