Legal Protest

Nov 5, 2012 (AFP) – Hundreds of Sri Lankan lawyers took to the streets of Colombo on Monday protesting against a government move to impeach the country’s top judge in an increasingly bitter dispute. Lawyers marched from the Supreme Court to the city centre denouncing efforts by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance party to sack Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

“Hands off the judiciary,” said one placard carried by a protester. “Courts stoned, judges threatened, CJ insulted, democracy stalled,” said another, referring to the clash between the government and judges.

Ruling party lawmakers submitted the impeachment resolution on Thursday after the government said Bandaranayake had “violated the constitution” by naming a junior judge as head of the country’s judicial watchdog and was guilty of “misconduct”.

Analysts have said the government was infuriated by Bandaranayake’s recent decision to shoot down a bill giving more powers to the economic development ministry headed by the president’s younger brother, Basil.

The United States voiced concern on Friday about the move to impeach the chief justice and called on the Sri Lankan government to p