"I have never seen a government that has repressed the rights of not only the living but also of the dead by depriving them of their right to a peaceful death. That is why I am deeply ashamed by these actions Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister and Minister Ali Sabri. That is all I have to say," he said.
Opposition leader and the Leader of the SJB Sajith Premadasa led the protest, which was also attended by various civil society groups and religious leaders.
Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations have advised that there is no public health need to cremate COVID victims, the government has continued its policy of forced cremations, Premadasa noted.
Meanwhile, SJB MP Mujibur Rahman accused the government of treating those who have contracted COVID-19 as criminals.
"When they are labeled as criminals, their relatives and friends aren't allowed to see them. They aren't allowed to attend to their final religious rites. Contrary to accepted norms, they are treated as criminals and cremated," he added.