May 07, Colombo: Sri Lankan university students defying a police order have staged a protest outside the Sri Lankan President's official house, Temple Trees, today to demand the education authorities not to cut short a degree programme.
Undergraduate university students belonged to the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated student union, Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF), and the undergraduates of the Allied Health Sciences (AHS) Degree Program staged the protest in front of the Temple Trees on the Galle Road.
The students began their protest march from opposite the University Grants Commission and proceeded through Bambalapitiya on Galle Road and staged a sit-down protest on the road in front of the Temple Trees.
The students blocked traffic and demanded to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the government's decision to reduce the length of the AHS Degree Program. They urged the government not to reduce the period of the four-year course to three years.
The section of the road from the Kollupitya junction to the Galle Face Roundabout was closed for the traffic.
Local media reported that five students were given the opportunity to discuss the issue with the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga but the student leaders have refused the offer demanding a meeting with the President.
However, the students have dispersed without an incident after protesting for about one and half hours.