May Day held in Sri Lanka
Sunil C. Perera and Chithralal Jayasingha in Colombo
Colombo, 01 May, (Asiantribune.com): President Mahinda Rajapakse appeals for the support of the entire working population to extend their strength to the country’s leader to develop the nation as a unitary state defeating terrorism.
He said the government has great confidence in the labor community. The President pointed out that the present government is a government of the labor population. Therefore, the government is always prepared to maintain strong ties with the working people.
President Rajapakse stated this addressing the May Day rally of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance at the Mahaweli Grounds in Dehiaththakandiya.
He assured that the eastern province will not be allowed to return to the clutches of terrorists and support of the eastern people must be extended to the government in this regard.
The people of the north and the Wanni will be liberated in the same manner their eastern counter parts have now been liberated. President Rajapakse stated that the government is engaged in attaining economic independence parallel to the eradication of terrorism.
He noted that the government rendered in valuable service in the past two years especially in revitalizing the public sector. The President observed that the government also initiated major projects such as the Norachcholai and Upper Kothmale power plants.
He pointed out that the government is engaged in these measures on behalf of the people not for political motives but for national dignity. He also paid tribute on May Day to the heroic war heroes who liberated the east.
Addressing the rally Minister Maithreepala Sirisena noted that a few years ago holding an election in the eastern province was merely a dream. The present government has succeeded in making it a reality.
Also addressing the rally Minister Athauda Senevirathne projected that accelerated development could witnessed in the Eastern Province after its governance is taken over by representatives elected by the people.
Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva observed that the government is able to fight terrorism because the labor community contributes with regard to the national economy. Therefore, they receive the tribute of the government. The aim of the government at this point is to enable the people of the east to enjoy the liberty enjoyed by the eastern people. Minister D.M. Jayarathne told the gathering that an environment will be created in the eastern province where Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities could live side by side.
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the present government has launched a plan to create a new Sri Lanka through the union of the labor community.
Making the welcome address Western Province Governor Alavi Maulana said the UPFA is hoping to hold a future May Day rally in the north. At today’s May Day rally four proposals benefiting the working masses were presented.
During the process of the rally two UNP members of the Uhana Pradeshiya Sabha joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The Pradeshiya Sabha Members Hasitha Mahesh and A. Ranasinghe said they will work together with the Alliance government.
The May Day celebration organised by the Lanka Kamkaru Pakshaya was held this morning near the A.E. Gunasinghe statute in Pettah.
The event also marked the 117th birth anniversary of labour leader A.E. Gunasinghe. Addressing the gathering party leader Vijitha Kadiragonna appreciated the programme implemented by the government against terrorism. He stated that the working class is prepared to extend their support to the government. The late E.A. Gunasinghe formed the country’s first political party.
The May Day rally of the Joint Organisation of the July Strikers was held at the Public Library in Colombo today. At the function General Secretary of the organisation P. Amaradivakara said President Mahinda Rajapakse came forward to assist the July strikers in a manner no previous government endeavoured. The May Day rally of the Lanka Estate Workers’ Federation took place at the Matale Town Hall.
Meanwhile local wire services reported the May Day holiday in Sri Lanka was marked with low-key celebrations Thursday due to tight security, with two of the main political parties deciding to curtail their activities, party sources said.
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe called off its planned procession and rally due to security concerns. Instead the party planned to hold a religious function in a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital to mark the event.
Earlier in the day the party commemorated the anniversary of the death of former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was also the UNP leader, killed in a suicide bomb attack by Tamil rebels at a May Day procession in 1993.
The Marxist JVP (People's Liberation Front) cancelled its procession due to security reasons and held only a meeting in the capital Colombo.
The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was holding its May Day rally in a town in the eastern province where the government will conduct a provincial election on May 10. The May Day celebration turned into a campaign rally of the party.
In rest of the country only small, low-key May Day celebrations were held.
- Asian Tribune -