UNP to boycott parliament

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
United National Party (UNP) Members of Parliament picketed outside the Sri Lankan Parliament shouting slogans against the PA regime this morning, and once sittings began informed the Speaker that they would be boycotting Parliament for one month in protest of the violence unleashed on them in Eppawela and other parts of Sri Lanka's North Central Province (NCP).

The demonstration was led by UNP chief and Leader of the Opposition Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe.

ranil_wickramasinghe_3-p.gifThe UNP is championing the protest of farmers and residents of Eppawela in the North Central Province (NCP), against the sale of the phosphate mines belonging to the Sri Lankan company Lanka Phosphate Ltd., to two foreign conglomerates, McMoRan of the United States and Tomen Corporation of Japan.

The main share holder of the Lanka Phosphate Ltd. is the Sri Lankan government. Last Saturday, when the UNP which addressed three meetings in Giribawa, Galgamuwa and Moragolla in the NCP, ran into fallen trees and burning tyres on the road.

Some residents had complained that they had been coerced into not attending the UNP meetings. On Friday, houses and vehicles were damaged by goons and some were set on fire in the Galnewa, Eppawela and Kalawewa area.

The UNP has said this is the work of the ruling Peoples' Alliance to disrupt the burgeoning protest against the sale of the Eppawela mines organised by the UNP. The Chief Minister of the NCP Jayasena Dissanayake (UNP) charged that police and military personnel in civvies have been involved in the violence.

The Thambuttegama Magistrate in the north central province issued a warrant on four PA Provincial Councilors in connection with the violence that erupted within the premises of Lanka Phosphates Ltd. last Thursday.

 

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