Free Fonseka: UNP, JVP plan big protests

Both, main opposition parties – the UNP and the JVP -- are planning to rally thousands of their supporters to Colombo next week to demonstrate against the detention of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who completes one year in custody next Tuesday.

The JVP plans to bring its supporters from all parts of the island for a protest campaign near Lipton’s Circus on Tuesday followed by a similar protest by the UNP on Wednesday at Hyde Park. JVP spokesman Anura Kumara Dissanayake said their protest on Tuesday, while focusing on the release of former Army Commander, would also be against the policies of the Rajapaksa regime. “We have invited other parties as well for the campaign which is being organized by the People’s Movement for Democracy. We are expecting not only party supporters, but intellectuals, artistes and those of other professions to join hands,” he said.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the party hoped to bring supporters from the Western Province for the protest campaign at Hyde Park where the focus would be on the demand for the release of former General Fonseka and the suppression of media freedom.

“Mr. Fonseka has been in custody for one year. We are not even in a position to campaign for his release because our supporters are being attacked,” he said referring to the attack in Punchi Borella on Friday.

He said the UNP would urge the government to stop its anti-democratic policies. Senior Deputy Inspector General K.P.P. Pathirana said the police would provide security to both events, but the parties would have to officially inform the police about the protests.

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