Sri Lanka: Police raids NSSP headquarters (fwd)

Spoon Collective spoons at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Mon Jun 3 21:16:38 MDT 1996

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Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 14:57:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: Chegitz Guevara <mluziett at>
To: "lists -- Conference" <iww-news at>,
    Marxism <marxism at>,
    Marxism 2 <marxism2 at>,
    cflist <marxchat at>, SLDRTY-L <SLDRTY-L at LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Subject: Sri Lanka: Police raids NSSP headquarters (fwd)

Marc, "the Chegitz," Luzietti
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TO ALL COMRADES AND FRIENDS --- ACTION NEEDED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

POLICE RAIDS NSSP HEADQUARTERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Armed police officers raided the Columbo headquarters of the NSSP, the
Nava Sama Samaja (or New Socialist) Party, section of the Fourth
International in Sri Lanka in Colombo on the first of June 1996, while the
Party Central Committee was in session.

About thirty policemen armed with automatic rifles, grenades and
sub-machine guns broke into the building, saying that they suspected
illegal activities.

The actual reason for this is that the NSSP is the key organisation
supporting the electricity workers strike commenced on 29 May, which
resulted in a total blackout for 4 days. The strike was called by the
movement to safeguard the electricity board. The whole 14,000 strong
workforce went on strike demanding that the government give up its plan to
privatise the Ceylon Electricity Board.

This is the second time the government has tried to intimidate the NSSP
within a short span of one month, the first being the police attack on the
May Day demonstration.

The President, Chandrika KUMARATUNGA, addressing a press briefing vowed on
Friday May 31 that she will resort to any means "short of killing" to get
the workers back to work. She declared the strike illegal and ordered mass
arrest of the strikers.

Within hours of her threat, unidentified gunmen shot at the main
telecommunicationsunion leader J.B.P. DISSANAYAKA. He escaped unhurt, but
it was clear that the attack was clearly aimed at intimidating other
public sector trade unions which have expressed solidarity with the
striking electricity workers.

DISSANAYAKA is also a leader of the public sector trade union movement
opposing priovatisation.

Several leading members of the NSSP have also received death threats.
There had been attempts by pro-government sinhala (Sri Lanka's ethincal
majority) forces, including some members of Parliament to rouse chauvinism
among the masses by staging anti-strike demonstrations depicting strikers
as a hindrance to the war effort against Tamil separatist forces. It is
interesting to note that Major General Anuruddha RATWATTE, a maternal
uncle of the President, is both the Deputy Minister of Defence and the
Minister for Power and Energy.

These acts of intimidation are likely to deter the workers, or many of
them at least, from carrying on their strike action.

The NSSP is calling a campaign against state terrorism, war and
privatisation.  A picket will be held in the heart of the capital,
Colombo, on 05 May.

The NSSP appeals to all SOCIALISTS and TRADE UNIONISTS to write or fax the
President of Sri Lanka:

1) To protest and condemn the raid against the NSSP headquarters

2) To protest and condemn all forms of intimidation against the
Electricity workers and the Public sector workers in general.

Please write or fax: The President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Chandrika
Kumaratunga, Presidential Secretariat, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka. FAX (941)
333 703 Please send copy to the NSSP fax (941) 334 822.


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