FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Sri Lanka: Violent attack on opposition led march and media on the Independence day

NfR – Networking for rights in Sri Lanka
Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka

Press release/ 04 February 2011

NfR expresses its deep concern that a peaceful march† by the main opposition political party UNP has come under violent attack in the presence of sizeable police force. We also express our concern that journalists covering the event have been attacked by politically motivated thugs. MTV network has reported that their cameramanís video camera has been taken away after assaulting him. This incident took place on 4 February 2011 in Punchi Borella in Colombo.
The Free Media Movement, the freedom of expression watchdog of the country, has already issued a statement condemning the attack on media personnel and opposition politicians.

The march and rally† was organized as part of a campaign for the release of former army commander and defeated Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka.

Human Rights Lawyer and Western Provincial Counselor Shiral Lakthialaka told NfR that a pro-government gang attacked a very peaceful demonstration while police did not take any action to stop the violence.

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