Police to crack down on poster campaigns

Directive claims major move to ‘provoke’ people

The Police are to arrest groups planning a countrywide poster campaign to “provoke the public” and will produce them in courts.

A directive sent out by Police Headquarters to all police divisions said that there were “intelligence reports” that the poster campaign was aimed at “provoking the public” to carry out acts against the government. Police have been asked to deploy mobile patrols, motorcycle squads and foot patrols to arrest those pasting anti-government posters.

The directive signed by Senior DIG (Administration) N.K. Ilangakoon has also called upon police stations to remove any such posters that would be pasted by “organized groups”. It however, did not identify the groups.

In addition, heads of police divisions and officers in charge of Police Stations have also been told to report periodically on the poster campaign to Police Headquarters. The OICs have also been told to remain alert for the next ten days.

On Friday, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) announced that it would carry out campaigns in every district to demand the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who has been jailed for two and half years. Among the measures the party has planned are a countrywide poster campaign and collection of signatures to a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa demanding the release of Mr. Fonseka.

JVP parliamentarian and frontliner Sunil Handunetti told the Sunday Times that two party activists were arrested by the Borella Police. He alleged that party supporters putting up posters in Wellampitiya, Kaduwela, Maharagama and Kesbewa were also beaten up.

The JVP’s first protest campaign began in Kadawatha on Friday with around 1,000 supporters taking part. It was led by a Western Provincial Council member. The United National Party (UNP) is launching religious campaigns where its supports will chant Seth Kavi for the release of the former Army Commander. The first in the series gets under way today in Dompe. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Anoma Fonseka are among those expected to participate in today’s event.

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