Monks shouted hateful slogans, made unfounded accusations and behaved threateningly towards the families of the disappeared

IMG_9954-600-6CSR meeting triggers tense situation

A tense situation was reported at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), at Deans Road, Maradana this evening when a group of people forcibly entered a meeting at the CSR where the organizers claimed that families of disappeared persons from the civil conflict were meeting with civil society groups and members of the diplomatic community.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Colombo in a statement expressed concern about the disruption of the meeting.

“The meeting that included US Embassy officials was interrupted by angry protesters, including a group of monks. The mob forced its way into the meeting on the grounds of a Colombo Catholic church, where families of disappeared persons from the civil conflict were sharing their stories with civil society groups and members of the diplomatic community. The US Embassy is concerned that the initial reaction of the local police to this disruption appeared to be in support of the mob efforts to shut down the meeting, though after discussions with diplomatic officials the police did effectively calm the situation,” it said.

 “The mob shouted hateful slogans, made unfounded accusations and behaved threateningly towards the families of the disappeared. These protesters were not exercising their right to peaceful protest, but rather were disrupting a peaceful gathering of conflict survivors, including children. The strong impression was that the protesters were seeking to intimidate and silence those in attendance.”

 “The United States strongly urges the Government of Sri Lanka to enforce the rule of law and permit all citizens to exercise their most basic human rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We also call on the Government of Sri Lanka to take all possible steps to ensure the safety of families who had travelled from the North to attend this meeting, both in Colombo and upon their return home,” the embassy statement said