Oct 11, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has rejected the media reports that said the government has banned protests in the capital city of Colombo in the month of November to provide security to the Commonwealths Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held next month.
Local media reports said the government under the public security regulations has directed that protests, marches and the display of banners and black flags be banned during the first three weeks of November.
Addressing a media briefing, the Director General of Media Centre for National Security Lakshman Hulugalla has said that there was no truth to the reports.
However, for security reasons there will be some restriction during that time period, he said adding that there may be road closures for short periods of time to allow the delegates attending the CHOGM to travel within the city.
Hulugalla further has said that the statement made by the Legal Advisor to the Defence Ministry, Hariguptha Rohanadheera and reported by the local media that the government has made this decision as part of the security plan during the CHOGM summit scheduled to commence in Colombo on November 15th has been corrected.
He added that any such notice would be delivered by the Media Center for National Security.
Picking up on the reported ban rights watchdog Amnesty International said yesterday the ban would be a "blatant attempt to sweep human rights abuses under the carpet".
"Such a ban would fly in the face of 'Commonwealth values' that respect human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, "Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Deputy Director Polly Truscott said.
The organization took the opportunity to reiterate its call not to allow Sri Lankan to host the summit.
"Banning protests shows how the Sri Lankan government is trying to hide ongoing human rights abuses from visiting world leaders and media. The Commonwealth cannot allow itself to be used by the Sri Lankan government to gloss over cracks in its international image," the right watchdog said.