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Ranil Resign! Stop the Repression! Solidarity with the Aragalaya!

Friday 22 July 2022, by Samajawadi Janatha Sansadaya

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Statement of Samajawadi Janatha Sansadaya (Socialist Peoples’ Forum)

The Samajawadi Janatha Sansadaya (Socialist Peoples’ Forum) condemns the violence unleashed on peaceful protestors at ‘GotaGoGama’ adjacent to the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, in the early hours of Friday 22nd July.

Two thousand military and police cordoned off access roads to the site, and proceeded to destroy tents sheltering protestors, assaulting those in their way, including journalists who were recording the aggression, and abducting several individuals identified as leading activists.

This heinous anti-democratic action was perpetrated by President Ranil Wickremesinghe within hours of his assumption of office on 21st July, following the ouster of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in massive public demonstrations and occupations.

In fact on the 21st the diverse groups represented at ‘GotaGoGama’ announced their withdrawal from occupation of the Presidential Secretariat as of 2pm on the 22nd; while vowing to continue the Aragalaya (‘Struggle’) by other means.

This senseless action by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also Minister of Defence, is intended to entrench his authority within the militarised state. It also aims to secure his standing among the parliamentarians of the Rajapaksa family, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP—People’s Front), who are wounded and smarting from their political setbacks and the counter-violence across Sri Lanka against their homes and other properties on May 9th in reaction to SLPP thugs attacked ‘GotaGoGama’.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is President today thanks entirely to his backing by the Rajapaksas. The electorate rejected his party and himself in 2020, netting one seat through total number of votes cast nationally. His ascent from opposition parliamentarian to prime minister and now president is an outcome of a broken and corrupt political system.

We urge international solidarity for the release of those in custody and with the demands of the Aragalaya for Ranil Wickremesinghe’s resignation; lifting of emergency law; abolition of the executive powers of the presidency; early general elections; democratisation of the political system and constitutional renewal; and economic relief for the masses.

The Aragalaya has always been larger than ‘GotaGoGama’. It must now regroup. The decentralisation of resistance through neighbourhood councils as in Sudan’s democratic revolution, will make it more difficult to repress. Its demand for a national Peoples’ Council as an alternative to the disgraced Parliament, reminding the dominated majority that power belongs to them, is another step.

Victory to the Peoples’ Struggle!


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