Sri Lanka Bar Association, opposition, EU assault on protesters, UK and US concerned

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main bar association has condemned attacks by security forces on peaceful protesters shortly after Ranil Wickremesinghe was named president, while US envoy Julie Chung and the British high commissioner Sarah Hulton expressed concern.

“The Bar strongly and unreservedly condemns the use of force and violence last night by the authorities to attack protesters at Galle Face, near the presidential secretariat,” BASL chief Saliya Pieris said in a statement. a message on twitter.com calling for an investigation.

“A cowardly assault on peaceful protesters, who agreed to leave today,” said opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.

“An unnecessary display of ego and brute force endangering innocent lives and jeopardizing Sri Lanka’s international image, at a critical time.”

Freedom of expression has proven essential to Sri Lanka’s current transition,” the European Union said.

“It’s hard to see how severely restricting it can help find solutions to the current political and economic crises.”

US envoy Julie Chung called for restraint and medical treatment for injured protesters.

“Deeply concerned about the action taken against protesters at Galle Face in the middle of the night,” a twitter.com post said.

“We call on the authorities for restraint and immediate access to medical care for the injured.”

Read more A peaceful protest site in Sri Lanka was raided as the army was called in under emergency law

Protesters said they were assaulted while sources said 9 people, including a woman, were admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

“Very concerned about the information from the protest site Galle Face, British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton said.

“We have made clear the importance of the right to peaceful protest.”

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said people occupying the presidential secretariat and its surroundings had been cleared to allow its use.

Newly appointed President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a gazette notice under the Emergency Law, called in troops overnight to support the police.

Andrew B. Reiter