JO protest a farce and damp squib – Sagala

Published : 9:10 am  September 7, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Untitled-4The “Jana Balaya’ protest organized by the Joint Opposition in Colombo ended up as a “damp squib”, Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said.   

“In fact, the Joint Opposition dug its own political grave by launching this disastrous protest campaign,” Ratnayaka said, issuing a statement this afternoon.   

The full statement issued by Ratnayaka is as follows:   

“The protest campaign, organized by the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in Colombo, yesterday, ended up as a farce and a damp squib. Initially, there were reports that they had planned to lay siege to the commercial capital of the country and then they talked about protesting overnight and toppling the government.   

In the end, however, they could not continue their protests even at least until midnight and many protesters went back to their villages blaming the organizers for lack of coordination and planning. So, a protest that was aimed at toppling the government finally boomeranged on its organizers, much to the disappointment of the ‘Rajapaksa cabal’. Therefore, this is one of the biggest setbacks suffered by the Rajapaksa group in the recent past, and the leaders of the protest became a laughing stock in the eyes of the entire country.   

The Rajapaksa cabal first started their meandering by holding a rally in Nugegoda months after the downfall of the previous government. They then moved to Kirulapona, Kandy, Galle Face and several other locations. They described each of these events as the “first salvo” to topple the government. Although, several first salvos have been fired so far, nothing has happened to the national unity government or its leaders and they continue to steer the country in the right direction. The fires of these first salvos are still in the opposition, without any prospects of forming a government in the future.   

It is important to understand the reason behind initiating a protest of this nature, and at this juncture. It all started when Parliament passed a legislation to set up a Special High Court to hear cases of bribery and corruption. Over the first three years of the government, investigations into financial crimes and corruption progressed slowly as the investigators had to overcome many technical and practical difficulties. We repeatedly stated that they would soon overcome those challenges and the perpetrators of financial crimes and corruption would be brought to book. Now, the majority of these investigations have reached their final stages and a special court has been set up to expedite the judicial process.   


In the end, however, they could not continue their protests even at least until midnight and many protesters went back to their villages blaming the organizers for lack of coordination and planning

This, needless to say, is a major concern for the Rajapaksa cabal as they know the wheels of justice are moving. Their collective conscience is aware that they cannot play hide-and-seek with the law enforcement anymore. So, their last resort was a massive protest campaign to show the world that they were being hunted down for political reasons. It was in this context that the ‘Janabalaya’ campaign was planned by a group affiliated with Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.   

However, little did they realize that they were too late of this sort of tamashas. The public is familiar with their theatrics and cannot be hoodwinked anymore. It is now clear that the Rajapaksas have only hoodwinked themselves by these disastrous tactics.   

It was also revealed that 81 drunk protesters, who were ‘knocked out’ on the street, were picked up by the ‘Suwaseriya’ Ambulance service and admitted to hospital. When all these unfolded, the leaders of the JO were wining and dining in their plush suites in some leading hotels, not too far away from the Lake House roundabout.   

None of them were apologetic about the great inconvenience they caused to office workers trying to go back to their loved ones after a long day’s work. They were the ones who were relentlessly exploited by a family rule for nearly a decade.The biggest outcome of the ‘Janabalaya campaign, in my view, is that it unmasked the top echelons of the JO and exposed their real faces to the public. At the same, it reminded the Rajapaksa cabal that ‘street protests’ or other forms of theatrics cannot save them from the long arm of the law,”   Minister Ratnayaka further added.