Sri Lanka civil rights body warns of growing repression

Feb 24, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Civil Rights Movement (CRM) said recent attacks on peaceful anti-government protestors by government supporters indicated an ‘alarming slide’ towards curbs on democracy. The CRM said previous attempt to violently suppress peaceful protest had given rise to violent rebellions.

The Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency began in the late 1970s and gathered momentum after riots by Sinhalese mobs against minority Tamils in July 1983, seen as a watershed in the conflict.

The insurgency was crushed only in May 2009.

The island had also suffered two violent uprisings by youth of the majority Sinhalese community, first in 1971 and again in the late 1980s, both of which were brutally crushed.

The CRM recalled how in 1956 Tamil political leaders engaged in a peaceful protest opposite the then-parliament in the capital Colombo were attacked by thugs while the police and members of parliament looked on.

“The tolerance of opposing views, not merely by governments and politicians, but by all the diverse elements that make up our society, including each and every individual, is vital for us all,” the CRM statement said.

œ¦ stifling the peaceful ex