Sri Lanka: Protestors & Police
It is a fundamental right of people to protest but that right does not give freedom to assume they are the voice of the entire nation and as such they can, not only make a noise but attack even public property. They cannot take law into the hands. The police are tasked to maintain law and order. Their task is no easy job. There are no manuals that they can look up how to handle spontaneous calamity taking place before them. They are also human. There are instances where both protestors & police have gone beyond their mandate. We as onlookers can be judgmental. They will have their own versions, their own excuses, their own justifications. Who decides what is right & wrong. It is always onlookers or third party sources. Today, things are not in black and white. There are covert operations at play. Those who laugh at such, claiming them to be conspiracies, have obviously not read the admissions of covert roles years after their success via declassified papers.
Sri Lanka’s 74 years of independence has seen – hartals, Catholic Action, insurgency, rebellions, terrorism, guerilla warfare, regime change, political coups, constitutional coups and all that was missing was riots and people’s protests. If all the other crisis situations had some form of external involvement, there is no reason to believe that the present crisis is no different. When envoys go visiting all the key players involved or doing the communications it fits the puzzle.
The recent protests was given a permanent venue in the heart of Colombo, but that venue was allocated far before any form of protests was in the horizon. This itself makes one to wonder if this is all part of the plan. Those inducted as unofficial ‘leaders’ today find themselves sidelined probably because their role is now over. There are many others claiming credit for setting up the protests but the real brains remain undisclosed. It will start to make sense if we all realize that every major action taking place the world over alongside the reactions are choreographed by the same people. If we understand that both sides of a war is funded by the same parties, we should be able to get a clearer picture of what is taking place in Sri Lanka.
Why is it accepted for protestors to climb over barricades, push barricades, scream in filth at the police, but when police react with water cannons, tear gas or even baton charge – the actions that precipitated the reactions are ignored.
We have seen protests and protestors and police reactions in Occupy Wall Street, Paris protests, Australia’s anti-covid protests, and even Hong Kong of late. For the onlookers the actions of both sides need to be condemned. Even in several protests in the past, we have had so called protestors referred to as “peaceful” and “unarmed” but in reality there were nowhere peaceful and were carrying petrol bombs (glass bottles) and sand bottles. This was the scene at Rathupaswela.
This is not to debate whether a protest is right or wrong, for protests and protestors have every right to protest against governance or whatever subject they wish to, but they cannot be violent or they cannot damage or destroy public property. The nature of the planning behind the attacks on May 9th & 10th showed how well organized these groups were to mercilessly attack and vandalize and loot homes and public property. This damage is being justified claiming it to be a reaction to the attacks. If this action-reaction excuse is to continue, what else will be turned into cinders? Who bears this loss? Not the jobless thugs either drunk or drugged or full of jealousy & rage who carried out the attacks. If at all, they will get arrested and land up in prison enjoying 3 free meals a day without doing a single job. The taxpayer ends up footing the bill.
While the student population claims to be the initiators of the ‘aragalaya’ – why are they not studying, are they not wasting public funds allocated for their studies by the state? How right is it to turn a public venue into a protest zone, why is there government inaction in allowing temporary structures to be put up in a public area? This site is not for only protestors? No one has a right to put up temporary structures and live in them – in other occasions such acts will be declared squatters and illegal structures. If such a protest, with temporary structures, was organized by anti-West lobbies would the Western envoys bless these? Put up such a protest and see the difference in reactions. See who takes part and who doesn’t, even the media will be selective in supporting in particular those social media campaigners hosted by western envoys. The hypocrisy will be revealed.
Genuine concerns of people are always hijacked. People rightly wanted to raise their voice against the corruptions and mismanagement of the economy, but their protest was soon hijacked or the plan was to create a protest and from that generate public sentiment against the government to change their decisions not to what the protestor’s wanted but to what the people who were orchestrating the protests wanted.
It may take time for people to realize this. Already some protestors are waking up to the reality. But, sooner than later, the architects will boast of their success and that will certainly be an embarrassment to those that thought they were protesting for a purpose.
Shenali D Waduge