The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) strongly and unreservedly condemned the use of force and violence last night by the authorities in attacking protestors at Galle Face in the vicinity of the Presidential Secretariat.
The BASL said it is aware that 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 Bopege have been arrested.
“I have also been told of people having been assaulted. The authorities must ensure the safety of everyone and their whereabouts must be made known,” Pieris said.
The use of the Armed Forces to suppress 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.
“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 force 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,” it added in a statement.
The BASL demands for an immediate halt to the unjustified and disproportionate actions of the Armed Forces targeting civilians.
The BASL demands that President Ranil Wickremesinghe ensure that he and his government respect the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights of the people.
The BASL calls for an immediate inquiry into the incidents and for disciplinary action against all persons involved. All those involved including those who gave orders on the same must be held accountable.