May Day amidst security scare
Leftwing political parties and trade unions demonstrated in Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, to celebrate May Day despite a request by the government to stay away due to security reasons.
But all major political parties stayed away as police endorsed government's request after a suicide bomb blast that seriously injured country’s most senior military commander.
The protesters called for permanent peace in the island nation despite the tensions in the north and east following clashes between the government forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Public Sector Salary Review Trade Union Committee (PSSRTUC) accused the government of trying to undermine the problem of salary discrepancies by stopping May Day celebrations.
PSSRTUC president Saman Ratnapriya said the government is challenged by trade union action against salary discrepancies.
The PSSRTUC march in Colombo was supported by New Left Front (NLF).
The newly formed Socialist Peoples Front (SPF) meanwhile accused President Rajapaksa’s political ally, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of trying to capitalise on country’s prevailing security situation.
JVP 'asking for war'
SPF was formed recently by leftwing parties support Rajapaksa government.
“The JVP will not succeed in their attempts to push President Rajapaksa into war,” a leader of the SPF Vasudeva Nanayakkara told bbcsinhala.com.
Nanayakkara said the SPF staged a short rally and march to urge the government to not to give into pressure by “war-mongers” and “imperialists”.
The JVP which usually stage a massive march and a rally to mark international workers day, has decided to honour the government’s request.
Addressing a May Day rally in Hatton, leader of Up Country Peoples Front (UPF) P Chandrasekaran warned President Rajapaksa that the UPF will have to make a clear choice if the government continues its alliance with parties like JVP and JVP.
He said the choice between the UPF is Rajapaksa and LTTE leader Prabhakaran if Rajapaksa fails to bring peace to the island nation.
Chandrasekaran said the Tamils in the upcountry will face severe consequences if war breaks in the north and the east.
Sri Lanka’s main opposition, United National Party (UNP), opted to mark the 13 death anniversary of former President, Ranasinghe Premadasa.
In an interview with BBC Sandeshaya UNP parliamentarian Rajitha Senarathne accused the government of “forfeiting 61 human lives” because of the vague policies in regard to talks with the Tigers.
“The government should have tried their best to get the LTTE to the negotiations table in Geneva rather than coming out with vague excuses not to transport their eastern commanders,” he added.
UNP National Organising Secretary SB Dissanayake called on the authorities to follow “Premadasa policies”, as the former leader was working with every community in harmony “irrespective of race or religion”.