In a letter to the Army Commander and Inspector General of Police, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has condemned the removal of a group of protestors from the ramparts of the Galle Fort on Wednesday (29).
These protesters were holding banners and placards with slogans critical of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Government. They had been removed from the ramparts of the Galle Fort by the Police and Army.
The BASL stated that the particular area of the ramparts of the Galle Fort are public areas and hence that there is no lawful reason to disperse protestors.
In its letter, the BASL has reminded both Army Commander and the IGP of the importance of allowing people to exercise their freedom of speech and expression including their right to dissent.
“The suppression of the people’s right to protest and dissent is not the answer to the present situation in the country where the people are facing untold hardships due to shortages of fuel and other essentials. We reinstate that the police and the armed forces should not be used to stifle peaceful protests and dissent. We call upon you to ensure that the fundamental rights of the people such as the freedom of expression including the freedom of speech and publication and the freedom of peaceful assembly which are aspects of the sovereignty of the people are respected and protected”, the BASL letter said.
The BASL has also condemned the reports that Sri Lanka Army personnel had also been involved in removing these protesters contrary to the law.