By Jehan Perera
The 50th day anniversary of the Aragalaya took place in a generally calm manner. There were special events organized on Saturday, including a march from Independence Square to the Galle Face protest site. I met a veteran Colombo-based Tamil journalist who was one of those who made the trek, along with his teenage son. They had come to express their solidarity with the protestors and not to engage in confrontation with the government. So they did not join the smaller group that decided not to stop at the Galle Face protest site, but went on to try and forcibly enter the President’s House. They were pushed back by the police who tear gassed them to prevent their entrance to the road that led to the President’s House.
My journalist friend was part of the many who came, like me, to join out of a sense of duty to demonstrate public support for those who had brought about major changes in the country. During the past 50 days all ministers of the government had tendered their resignations, including the Prime Minister. Those government officials who had been most responsible for the economic catastrophe that has been the proximate cause of the concerted public protest campaign against the government were the first to be forced out. The revelations made before the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) gave an indication of the horrendous negligence and mismanagement that took place akin to economic crimes against the nation, which required the Aragalaya to bring to light.