Condemn brutal Sri Lankan police attack on student demonstration! | #students | #parents

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) calls upon the working class to condemn the ongoing police repression of student protests in Sri Lanka.

The latest police assault was directed against a student protest march organised by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) in Kelaniya on the outskirts of Colombo on Tuesday. The students were demanding the release of political prisoners and for solutions to the worsening economic situation facing the Sri Lankan masses.

Sri Lankan university students march on 18 October, 2022. [Photo: WSWS]

The IUSF called the protest to mark 60 days since the detention of its convener Wasantha Mudalige and Galwewa Siridamma from the Bhikku (Monks) Federation under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Mudalige, Siridamma, and another activist, Hashan Jeewantha, along with several other students, were arrested during a protest on August 18. President Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered them to be detained for 90 days under PTA.

Last Tuesday, about 1,000 students from various universities began marching from Kelaniya university at 3 p.m., planning to reach Colombo Fort, 11 kilometres away. About 2 kms from the university, the police mobilised a force of around 1,000 officers, including riot control and special task force units, backed by two water cannons, to block the protest.

The marching students chanted slogans such as, “Repeal repressive laws, including the PTA immediately,” “Let’s get rid of the Wickremesinghe-Rajapakse junta,’ and “Let us live—lower the tax burden.”

An hour after starting to march, students were confronted by police who declared that the protest was illegal and not been given police approval. Police then began breaking up the march, arresting eight students, including Kelaniya University Students Union President Kalum Mudannayake.

Police violently attack students from Kelaniya University on 18 October, 2022. [Photo: WSWS]

Police even tried to disperse chanting students who had gathered at a nearby road. After the protest, IUSF activist Janith Janajaya told the media, that one police officer had threatened them, saying “We will kill you.”

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