SEP and IYSSE in Sri Lanka rally to defend Assange and Manning
17 April 2019
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) held a powerful demonstration and rally in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, yesterday to demand the release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
Around 100 people, including workers, youth and housewives, attended the picket which was held outside the Colombo Fort Railway Station. A group of SEP members travelled 400 kilometres from war-ravaged northern Jaffna to participate and several estate workers came from the central hills plantation district.
It was one of several demonstrations called by Socialist Equality Parties around the world and the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) following Assange’s arrest by British police last Thursday. The WikiLeaks publisher faces extradition to the US on bogus charges.
Demonstrators enthusiastically chanted slogans in Sinhala and Tamil, including “Free Julian Assange, Free Chelsea Manning,” “Defend the right for free speech, Defend democratic rights,” and “Stop internet censorship, No to world war, fight for international socialism.” Hundreds of copies of the WSWS April 12 Perspective, “Free Julian Assange” were distributed to those watching the event or passing through the station.
Sri Lankan media outlets, including Veerakesari, Sri Lanka’s main Tamil-language daily newspaper, IBC radio, Dan tv, Capital fm and madhyavadiya.lk, covered the event.
K. Ratnayake, Sri Lanka’s WSWS national editor, addressed a 45-minute rally following the demonstration. He explained the circumstances surrounding Assange’s arrest by British police and his illegal removal from the Ecuadorian…