(Lanka Dissent, Friday, 08 August 2008 16:52)
Political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations today (Aug. 08th) demanded the government immediately ‘caged Mervyn Silva, the stray dog who bites journalists.’
The call came at a protest organized in Colombo by the Five Media, where a large number of participants vehemently condemned the Labour Minister for his continuous attacks against the media.
In the most recent incident, he and his supporters attacked two camera crew of Sirasa TV and snatched their equipment at an official function four days ago.
Among the political leaders who participated in the demonstration were Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana Wing’s Mangala Samaraweera, United Socialist Party’s Sirithunga Jayasuriya and Wickramabahu Karunaratne of the Democratic Left Front.
The United National Party’s General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and MPs Dayasiri Jayasekara, Sagala Ratnayake, Ravi Karunanayake, Lakshman Seneviratne, Jayalath Jayawardena and Johnston Fernando were also present.
Co-convener of the August Fourth Movement Saman Ratnapriya, Chairman of the Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin and Former Convener of the Free Media Movement Sunanda Deshapriya also participated in the protest.
Carrying placards and shouting slogans against Mervyn Silva, the demonstrators marched from Kollupitiya Junction to the Police barriers at Liberty Roundabout close to Temple Trees.
Speaking here, President of the Working Journalists Association Sanath Balasuriya and political leaders stressed that the thuggery being unleashed by the Labour Minister was not a personal action.
They accused that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was protecting the Labour Minister and using him to repress the media, trade unions and political opponents.
The speakers said that they fired the first salvo against this organized repression, and warned of stronger action if the present regime led by President Rajapaksa did not halt their acts of thuggery and violence against the people.