Sri Lankan magistrates across districts in the North-East issued bans and injunctions against civil society members, journalists and other individuals ahead of a ‘walk for justice’ organised by Tamil war victims’ families, civil society organisations and Tamil politicians.
The protest march, which mobilised around demands for the United Nations and international community to heed Tamil calls for justice and accountability, began today from Pottuvil despite the imposed restrictions, roadblocks and police interference.
The walk, which coincides with the Sri Lankan independence Day celebrations, has been named after the route from ‘Pottuvil to Polikandi’, delineating the two furthest ends of the traditional Tamil homeland, from Pottuvil in Amparai in the south, to Polikandi in Point Pedro at the northern tip.
The magistrates have issued the bans following pressure from Sri Lankan police, who cited multiple differing reasons in an attempt to disrupt the organised peaceful processions.
The Jaffna Magistrates Court banned all protests for 4 days between February 3rd to February 6th. Stay orders were issued to multiple individuals after an application was filed by Jaffna and Kopay police to the Jaffna Magistrates, citing reasons of public harassment and violations of COVID-19 guidelines.
32 individuals including Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kacchi (ITAK) leader Mavai Senathirajah; Jaffna mayor Visvalingam Manivannan, Tamil lawyer Sugash Kanagaratnam, Uthayan newspaper publisher Eswarapatham Saravanapavan, former Northern Provincial Council members Shivajilingam and C.V.K Sivagnanam; Jaffna University Union members were issued with direct orders banning them from protesting.