Joint Opposition (JO) activists protesting against government move to hand over the Mattala airport to an Indian company were attcked by the police yesterday outside the Consulate in Hambantota.
Police used water cannon and fired tear gas to disperse crowds gathered outside the Indian mission.
Police arrested 26 persons during the crackdown. Yesterday’s protest was the first by the JO against India since the change of government.
The Hambantota Magistrate’s Court on Thursday issued an order preventing protests by MP Namal Rajapaksa and Southern Provincial Councillor D.V. Upul and others in Hambantota.
The order was given on a request made by the police.
Among those MPs involved in the protest were Namal Rajapaksa, Arundika Fernando, Kumar Welgama, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.
A spokesperson for the top Hambantota based Indian diplomat Prem K. Nair yesterday told The Island that a memorandum had been received from the protesters.
The JO said yesterday’s protest was meant to highlight Sri Lanka’s current despicable policy of giving control of strategic assets to foreign powers. It was opposed to the terms and conditions of the Hambantota port lease agreement with China as well as moves to hand over Mattala airport to India.
India established Consulate General at No 107 B, New Road, Hambantota in late Nov 2010 during the previous administration