BY Buddhika Samaraweera
Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin, who was released on bail after being remanded for allegedly violating a court order, was received by a large group of teachers and principals near the Lipton Circus Roundabout in Colombo yesterday (8).
Stalin, a well known trade unionist, was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday (8). At that time, Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Thilina Gamage ordered that he be released on two personal sureties of Rs. 500,000 each.
Meanwhile, before he was released on bail, a group of teachers and principals had organised a protest near the Lipton Circus Roundabout in Colombo, demanding his release. Stalin, who was subsequently released on bail, also arrived at the venue last evening and was welcomed by the assembled teachers and principals.
He proceeded to join the demonstration being staged there, where those gathered then protested against President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the current Government. They expressed their strong opposition to the President, especially regarding the arrest of activists involved in the ongoing people’s struggle, known as the “aragalaya”.
Stalin, who has been at the forefront of the protests which earlier demanded the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and are now demanding the resignation of Wickremesinghe, was arrested by the Police on 3 August for allegedly violating a court order during a protest march at Bank of Ceylon Mawatha on 28 May. His arrest has since seen much opposition from several parties including the teachers’ and principals’ trade unions, other trade unions, the main Parliamentary Opposition (the Samagi Jana Balawegaya), and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
Earlier, the All-Ceylon United Teachers’ Union (CTU) had said that all associations affiliated with the education sector had organised a protest movement yesterday (8), demanding the release of Stalin.