- Plans to lodge complaints with HRCSL today
- Says will file a FR case against the Police action
- Claims protestors were not served Court order, nor told why they were being arrested
- Alleges Police resorted to violence without warning
- Questions the conduct of senior Police officers present
- Plans to stage a protest against Police brutality
- 30 Police officers who arrested protestors moved to 14-day quarantine as a preventive measure: Police Media Unit
By Asiri Fernando
The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) plans to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCLS) today regarding the actions of the Police, who disbanded a protest organised by the party and arrested 53 members on Tuesday.
The Police action on Tuesday led to a public outcry about Police brutality, abuse of the powers entrusted to them, and especially about the treatment of women protestors by male policemen. Footage of the arrests reignited debate about lack of accountability for what has been a long-standing issue plaguing the Police Department. “We are seeking legal advice and plan to file a Fundamental Right (FR) case regarding our unlawful arrests in the coming days,” FSP Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda told the Daily FT.
The party also plans to complain to the Police Commission regarding the conduct of some senior Police officers who were present, he added. “The actions of the Police amount to a gross violation of our rights and the way they carried it out is a good example of Police brutality,” Jayagoda opined.
He argued that the Police failed to notify them of the Court order and with no prior warning assaulted them and innocent bystanders. “Normally, the Police serve us with the Court order, then posts in on a wall close by for all to see it and use a loud speaker to warn those who have gathered that force will be used and participants arrested if they continue to proceed with the protest,” he claimed, saying that had been standard practice at protest until now.
However, Police Spokesman SP Jaliya Senarathne said on Wednesday that the Police did serve the Court order to the protestors and post it for public view in the vicinity of the protest.
The Police Department had obtained a Court order preventing the protests which was planned to be held in front of the US Embassy. However, Police also moved to disband a protest staged near the Lipton Circle and make arrests, which the protestors argue was beyond the area prohibited by the Court order. He pointed out that the Police failed to convince the Magistrate that the 53 protestors who were arrested had violated a Court order.
However Jayagoda claimed that the Police resorted to assaulting them without giving cause and arresting the protestors without informing them why they were being arrested.
According to the Police two Police officers were injured during the incident.
The Police has taken measures to move 30 officers, including the OIC of the Colpetty Police Station who disbanded the protests and made arrests, into quarantine at the Attidiya Centre which is managed by the department, the Police Media Unit said in press release. However, why such action was taken was not mentioned.
The FSP plans to consult stakeholders, trade unions, political parties and civil society groups to organise a protest against Police brutality in the future, Jayagoda added.