Activists foil white van ‘arrest’ bid in Sri Lanka’s capital

Trade union and student activists in Sri Lanka have been able to actively thwart the unlawful arrest of a student leader in the country’s capital Colombo on Thursday (20).

A group in civilian clothing who arrived in a white van had tried to arrest the Convener of the Medical Student’s Action Committee Ryan Jayalath who was leaving the Organisation of Professionals Association (OPA) building after attending a meeting against the SAITM private medical college.

No valid warrant

Police have earlier obtained a warrant from courts to arrest Jayalath and other student leaders who are in the forefront of a movement against the privatisation of higher education.

However police officers who arrived at the scene were confronted by anti privatisation activists as they failed to provide a valid warrant for the arrest of Ryan Jayalath.

In a statement issued last week, JDS called on the Sri Lankan authorities 'to end their increasingly brutal crackdown on students who are protesting against government plans to privatise higher education.'

"By using police and courts to suppress dissenting voices the government has shamelessly demonstrated that it lacks the political will to fulfil its international commitments to reform the judiciary and the security sector", the statement said.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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