Saturday, February 5, 2011

Goons attack UNP protest

Daily Mirror - By Yohan Perera
The UNP-led ‘candlelight protest’ demanding the release of Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, came under attack in Punchi Borella yesterday by a gang armed with cudgels and brickbats  injuring at least 12 people including a photo journalist who was covering the event.
The attackers smashed a few vehicles belonging to UNP MPs who joined the protest. The attack took place ten minutes after the protesters left the Borella junction according to eye witnesses.
UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said the attackers used lit up bottles filled with fuel, clubs and stones.

A TV camera belonging to a journalist from Sirasa TV was snatched away by the attackers while several other media cameras were smashed by them.
Vehicles belonging to several UNP MPs including Dayasiri Jayasekera, Rosy Senanayake, Ravi Karunanayake and UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya were smashed.
Mrs. Senanayake and Mr. Jayasekera also sustained minor injuries in the melee.
Several other MPs and Mrs. Anoma Fonseka, the wife of the jailed former Army Commander, who was also in the protest march, were rescued by their supporters to avoid them from being attacked or manhandled.
Among the injured were Thinakkural photo journalist Krishan who was later hospitalized.
Mr. Jayasuriya said they were ashamed as such a violent attack had taken place when the country celebrated its 63rd anniversary of independence. “The country’s reputation would be adversely affected by this attack,” he said
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the party would go ahead with the protests in the future irrespective of any obstruction from opponents.
UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said he had a cordial discussion with UPFA MP Tilanga Sumathipala who was organizing a Bodhi Puja in the same area
Ms. Fonseka said the people of this country are fed up with the suppression of rights as they were  the ones who are mostly hurt by the attacks. “
Attempts to reach senior Ministers such as Dinesh Gunawardane, Keheliya Rambukwella, Susil Premajayantha and Maithripala Sirisena for a comment in this regard failed. However, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane who came on line declined to comment saying that he was totally unaware of the incident. 

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