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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Defence Secretary’s clarification on declaring high-security zones

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The police will enforce the law if protests organized in the country cause any disturbance to the general public at a time when stability is being slowly restored in the country, Defence Secretary, General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne says.

Addressing a special media briefing at the Ministry of Defence this morning, he said the security forces stand ready to provide support to the law enforcement authorities to keep tense situations under control, when necessary.

Speaking on the President’s move to declare parts of Colombo District as high-security zones, the Defence Secretary clarified that it does not hinder the people’s right to protest. “Protests can be staged and public meetings can be held. However, pursuant to the law, permission should be sought beforehand.”

The police grant permission for a protest after taking into account the fact that it does not hinder the day-to-day lives of the general public, Gunaratne explained. The police have a responsibility to take necessary actions regarding protests staged without notice, he added.

The Defence Secretary went on to add that high-security zones are not a new concept to Sri Lanka. Recalling how public officials were unable to perform their duties at the Presidential Secretariat after protesters took control of the establishment over the past few months, he noted that such state buildings should be protected.

We have designated only a few places in the city of Colombo as high-security zones through a gazette order, he clarified.

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