Civil society leaders and trade union leaders including NPC Executive Director Dr Jehan Perera, NPC Chairman Dr Joe William, Co-Conveners of Puravesi Balaya Gamini Viyangoda and Saman Ratnapriya, PAFFREL head Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of Right to Life Human Rights Centre Philip Dissanayake, Director of Rights Now Praboda Ratnayake and Lawyer Jagath Liyana Arachchi updated DIRC members on the current political situation of the country. DIRC representatives expressed their concerns over the critical situation and suggested different activities to conduct in their areas to raise public awareness about the political crisis.
The National Civil Society Forum held a meeting in Colombo with about 600 civil society and trade union leaders to organize protests to condemn President Maithripala Sirisena’s actions, including the unconstitutional dissolution of Parliament, and called for immediate action to reconvene Parliament. Fifty members attended the meeting from Galle, Kalutara, Kurunegala and Matara DIRCs. A continuous Sathyagraha was organized at Viharamaha Devi park. NPC brought about 200 DIRC members to participate in the Sathyagraha.
The Kandy Civil Society Forum, in collaboration with Kandy DIRC, held a press conference to raise awareness about the political crisis, which was widely covered by print and electronic media.
DIRC members from Galle and Matara attended public meetings in Galle and Matara towns organized by civil society groups. In Matara, DIRC members distributed about 2,000 leaflets in two trains where office workers were travelling from Matara to Colombo.
Puttalam DIRC organized a meeting to discuss the political crisis with the Muslim community. About 200 Muslim women attended the meeting. Most of the participants condemned President Maithripala Sirisena’s actions. They discussed what civil society should do to protect democracy and Constitutional rights in Sri Lanka. Similar meetings were held in Wariyapola and Ratnapura.
In Anamaduwa, civil activists working with NPC distributed leaflets at the weekly market. The leaflets set out the steps necessary to dismiss the Prime Minister and appoint a new one according to the Constitution. The leaflets also explained the Constitutional methods to prorogue Parliament.