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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to upholding the rights of peaceful, non-violent assembly. The President expressed this stance to the Colombo based Diplomats at a meeting held on Friday (22).

The meeting had been convened to brief foreign envoys on the removal of the protesters who had been illegally occupying the Presidential Secretariat.

President Wickremesinghe stated that both Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 14 (1)(b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, which governs the rights of peaceful assembly, would be upheld by the Government.

The President further explained that the instructions given by the American Civil Liberties Union stated that protesters were not permitted to block government buildings and interfere with other purposes the property was designed for.

The Diplomats were also briefed on the measures being taken to ensure that non-violent protests were allowed to proceed within the city without endangering property or lives.

Facilities within Colombo, such as the Open-Air theatre at Viharamahadevi Park, New Town Hall, Hyde Park and Campbell Park were all being made available to non-violent protests.

Addressing concerns regarding the GotaGoGama protest site, it was explained that it had not been removed by security forces, contrary to erroneous social media reports.

Furthermore, the participants were also briefed by the Attorney General on the legal avenues being pursued, including producing all those arrested by the police before the Colombo Magistrate Court.