Deployment of army personnel to disperse Galle Fort protest: Petitions filed by 11 lawyers fixed for support

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fundamental Rights petitions filed by eleven lawyers challenging the legality of the deployment of Army personnel to forcibly disperse a peaceful protest held on the ramparts of the Galle Fort on June 29.

The petitions will be heard by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya, A.H.M.D. Nawaz, and Shiran Goonaratne, on March 14, next year.

The Attorney General’s state counsel appeared in court and informed the court that a confidential document would be submitted to the court. The State Counsel also stated that they expect to file limited objections to the petitions.

According to the petitioners, this incident occurred on the second day of the first test match between the Sri Lankan and Australian cricket teams at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

Attorneys-at-law Nalani Manatunga, Chandana Kodakandage, Gopika Lokuge, Thusitha Madusanka, Samith Thushara Gallage, Eranga Ruwan Hemantha, Jothirathna Arachchi, Kumudu Nanayakkara, Chandranath Narangoda, Renuka Shanthimala, and Kusumawathi Pahala Gamage filed these petitions naming as respondents the Minister

The Petitioners claim that they decided as a group with other lawyers to go to the Ramparts to watch the cricket match and cheer and support the Sri Lankan team, as well as to protest the former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Government’s actions.

As a result, the Petitioners, along with a group of other lawyers, reached the ramparts of the Galle Fort and attempted to enter the ramparts of the Galle Fort from the Public Entrance near the Clock Tower in Galle Fort.

They also claim that the presence of military personnel armed with firearms on the ramparts of the Galle Fort while police officers were present, and without any authority, is grossly illegal and endangers the lives of the Petitioners, other protestors, and members of the general public who visited the ramparts of the Galle Fort.

The petitioners are also seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated the petitioners’ Fundamental Rights as guaranteed by Article 11, Article 12(1), Article 14(1)(a), Article 14(1)(b), and Article 14(1)(h) of the Constitution. These petitions were filed by Manoja Gunawardene, an attorney.

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