The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) strongly condemned the today early morning attack on peaceful protesters at Galle Face Colombo. The BASL condemned the use of force and violence by the armed forces in attacking protestors .
According to the BASL there have been several persons arrested by the armed forces including at least one lawyer and several journalists.
BASL President Saliya Pieris PC stated that several lawyers have informed him of an attack on protestors at the Galle Face near the Presidential Secretariat. He said he was also told that several people including Attorney-at-law Nuwan Bopage have been arrested.
“I am also been told of people having been assaulted. The authorities must ensure the safety of everyone and their whereabouts must be made known,” BASL President Pieris said.
The BASL President said that unnecessary use of brute force will not help this country and its international image.
It is apparent that hundreds of military personnel and police had blocked the access roads to Galle Face and prevented the public from entering the area. Attorneys-at-Law who tried to enter the area have been prevented from doing so by forces personnel. The BASL has been informed that at least two Attorneys-at-Law who sought to intervene in their professional capacity had been assaulted by service personnel. Video footage also shows unarmed civilians being assaulted by the security forces, BASL statement added.
The BASL has demanded for an immediate halt to the unjustified and disproportionate actions of the Armed Forces targeting civilians.
The BASL also demanded that President Ranil Wickremesinghe ensure that he and his government respect the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights of the people. The use of the Armed Forces to supress civilian protests on the very first day in office of the new President is despicable and will have serious consequences on our country’s social, economic and political stability.