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The police attack on the university student’s demonstration and on journalists

Oct 17, 2010 12:08:17 PM- transcurrents.com

The police attack on the university student’s demonstration and on journalists who had gone there to report it is an anti-democratic act

Statement by Free Media Movement

The Free Media Movement considers the attack on the university students demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Higher Education and journalists who were reporting the incident as dastardly act and denounces it.

As reported, university students who held a demonstration demanding the immediate release of six fellow university students in custody in Word Place in front of the Ministry of Education, had entered the Ministry premises declaring that they would stay on until the release of their fellow students. At the moment police dispersed the students by attacking them with water canon and continued attacking the students chasing after them. Several students had been taken into custody.

The police brutally attacked a group of students who had gone to Viharamahadevi Park to avoid the attack. The journalists were directly caught up in the attack in the Viharamahadevi Park while reporting the police attack on the students. Journalist Bingun Menaka Gamage of Lankadeepa, Sandaruwan Yatikinda of Neth FM, Daily Mirror photographer Pradeep Dilrukshana, Rivira’s Photographer Chamila Karunaratne were directly came under the attack. Despite identifying themselves as journalists by producing their media identity cards, police officers had attacked them , abusing them in filth. They attacked the journalist with belts and kicked them.

Another Television journalist had avoided the scene. Following day, the journalists who were attacked had lodged four separate complaints at the Cinnamon grand police station. (CIB i 82-129, CIB i 84-130, CIB i 86-131, CIB ii 386-78)

It is a democratic right to hold demonstrations demanding rights and journalists’ have a democratic right to reporting them. Not only violating their rights but also brutally attacking them is a heinous crime. This is a grave attack on freedom of media. Free Media Movement strongly urge the Minister of Defense, Secretary of Defense, IGP and other officials to take legal action against the police officers responsible for the attack. And also urges the masses who upheld democratic norms to rally against continuous anti-democratic incidents of this nature, violating human rights.

Seeta Rangani
Secretary Free Media