UNP MPs in walkout

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 February 1999, 13:15 GMT]
Forty members of Parliament of Sri Lanka's main opposition party walked out of the legislature this afternoon protesting against the vote rigging and violence in the north-western province polls last month.

The UNP MPs protested about the rigged polls and trooped out of the house while it was debating the extension of the emergency through the speaker's entrance, flouting parliamentary rules.

The contumacious opposition MPs were led by Mr. A.H.M Azwer, the outspoken Muslim politician from the Puttalam district.

The UNPers rang the traditional decorative-symbolic bells hung outside the Parliament and hoisted a white flag there to "mark the death of democracy" at the hands of the ruling PA. Then the opposition MPs dispersed.

The emergency 'debate', meanwhile, continued in the house of the Parliament where only the government ranks and several Tamil MPs in the opposition benches were present.

The house wound up the day's business around 5 p.m.

One of the UNPers who walked out of Parliament said that his party will continue with the protest in the legislature and in many parts of the country in the coming weeks.

He said a massive protest rally is being organised by the party in Kurunagala.

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