Situation Report of Lawyers Collective
10th January 2013: 9.00p.m.
1. Peoples’ March organized by Lawyers’ Collective.
(a) By 7.30a.m (Hulftsdorp – around the Supreme Court premises) the Government had deployed hundreds of goons with placards against the Chief Justice. Among those deployed were Civil Defence Force Officers disguised in civil clothing. Four groups of thugs armed with clubs were also present. They were given protection by the Military and Police. (See Video http://www.dailymirror.lk/video/24894-might-is-right.html )
(b) A group of protestors who were heading to the assembly point were abused and physically prevented from joining the protest and thus more than a thousand protestors were prevented from joining the main protest march. Several people were assaulted by those goons and among them was a civil society activist Tilak Kariyawasam who had later made a police entry at the Keselwatte Police Station.
(c) When the protest march led by the lawyers commenced, two armed groups prevented them from getting on to the street from the main entrance of the Supreme Court. Requests were made to the Senior Police Officers present to clear one side and to disperse the unruly crowds. However, the Police were unable to persuade the armed thugs to leave. A physical clash was however averted and the march commenced on an alternate route. Despite heavy rain people turned up in thousands and participated. Among them were approximately a thousand lawyers, leaders of all Opposition political parties and main trade union and civil society leaders.
(d) There was confirmed information verified by our own sources that there were thugs deployed at 8 places to attack the March heading towards Parliament. The organizers decided on an alternate route through Pettah and Fort. Hundreds of Policemen including the STF blocked the protest march near the Presidential Secretariat, in Fort. The organizers thereafter held a meeting addressed by Lawyers, Politicians, Trade Unionists and Academics. Thereafter the protestors returned to Hulftdorp. When they returned the armed goons and others who had blocked the protestors had dispersed.
2. The Government had transported approximately 2000 persons and placed them in front of the Parliament in support of the impeachment. The debate on the impeachment commenced in Parliament at 1p.m. Several Points of Order that had been raised by the Opposition had been overruled by the Speaker. The debate is continuing.
3. The Lawyers’ Collective decided to declare 11th January 2013, the day on which the impeachment vote is expected to be taken a Black Friday calling upon people to raise black flags in courts, homes and work places to mark their protest against the illegal impeachment.
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