Stop all forms of violence against peaceful protesters

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Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) demanded that all forms of violence unleashed by the Police and Armed Forces against peaceful protesters should be stopped immediately.

General Secretary of FUTA, Rohan Laksiri, especially mentioned the brutal attack on journalists outside the Prime Minister’s private residence on 9 May. The perpetrators of such violence should be immediately brought to justice through a due legal process, he urged.

It is also necessary to identify and prosecute those who issued such orders, so as to hold them accountable and it would prevent the usual Government practice of blaming the lowest ranked officer and letting those higher-ups, who issued and enforced these orders, to get off scot-free. FUTA highlighted that whatever the provocation and however serious the original crime, violent retaliation is not the solution and taking the law into our own hands only legitimises such violence and ensures that the physically stronger side holds sway in the end.

FUTA while denouncing violence of all kinds, from all quarters, and urged all the citizens not to succumb to any provocation to break the law.

In the meantime, FUTA urged that the perpetrators of arson against public and private property should also be identified based on solid evidence and brought to justice, but this should not be an excuse for another witch-hunt against legitimate non-violent protesters.

They said they believe that any country can only develop through the rule of just laws and not through fear or violence, even when it is generated by people with the best intentions.

Moreover, FUTA said that at this crucial juncture at which the immediate and medium-term future of this country is being determined, it appears that the various political parties are pursuing individual partisan agendas.

FUTA urged that all parties should forego such agendas at this point, however legitimate they may be in the longer-term, and work together towards a viable and fair consensus in order to ensure that the present victories are not lost in an endless political melee.

“Now is the moment when we require a statesperson-like approach by all leaders and their cohorts that puts the country ahead of all else.”

FUTA said that both the President and his Prime Minister should resign immediately, without holding the country to ransom any further and this is both the measure of the success of the protest movement and the essential first step in the long process of national recovery.

BY Sahan Tennekoon