The Federation of University Teachers (FUTA) said it unreservedly condemns the repression of peaceful protesters by the current regime led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The peaceful protesters represented ‘Aragalaya’, which is a truly democratic movement in Sri Lanka’s political history where people with diverse political, ideological, cultural and social beliefs and orientations united for a common purpose, they said.
“The Aragalaya slogan ‘Gota Go Home’, which resonated across the county (and beyond), was not just about the individual politician Gotabhaya Rajapaksa but about the rotten political order he represented. It was a rallying call to regain the promise of democratic politics and to demand a new political culture where the political class is accountable to the people who elect them,” FUTA said.
FUTA claimed that Wickremesinghe’s first action as Executive President was the planning and execution of a cowardly, illegitimate and violent attack on Gota Go Gama, the symbolic heart of the Aragalaya and that it was not accidental.
“It was a calculated move to strike fear into society as a whole. Immediately after this attack the Wickremesinghe-Pohottuwa government began a systematic campaign to delegitimise the Aragalaya, hunt down its leadership and to recreate the culture of impunity and repression that was the hallmark of the Rajapaksa-style of governance. The Government has now begun to even target established political parties – raiding their offices. However, if this regime believes that isolating and repressing a few Aragalaya leaders and targeting political parties and activists will kill the spirit of the Aragalaya they are sorely mistaken.”
The FUTA called upon the Government to immediately halt the repression of Aragalaya activists – who represent the people and the people’s will. FUTA stands with the democratic spirit of the Aragalaya and will take active action to resist and protest the illegitimate action of this government, they further said.
“We remind the Wickremesinghe-Phohottuwa government that it lacks any legitimacy and should stop hiding behind the Constitution. Rather than hunting Aragalaya activists we demand that this illegitimate government immediately gives way to a fresh political mandate and restore the legitimacy of this country’s political order”.