Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:13

Didn’t request to block protest; police prevented it due to COVID-19 restrictions: US Embassy

The US Embassy said yesterday that it did not request that the proposed demonstration near the embassy be blocked and that it has been denied by the police due to COVID-19 restrictions in Sri Lanka.

In a tweet, US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz said, “Rights to peaceful assembly and free speech are cornerstones of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - rights the US supports even when difficult for us. Today’s proposed demonstration in front of our Embassy was denied by Sri Lankan Police due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

We welcome discussion on minority rights, equal protection under law, and security service accountability. But let’s do so in safe ways until there’s less to worry about from COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, the Embassy said US supports rights of Sri Lankans and all people to peaceful protest which is consistent with their shared democratic traditions.

“We are aware that Colombo Fort Magistrate's Court issued an order blocking a demonstration near the US Embassy scheduled for today. The US Embassy did not request that the demonstration be blocked.

As always, we appreciate the efforts undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka and local law enforcement to keep diplomatic personnel and facilities in the country safe and their continued efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 by requiring masks, limiting the size of public gatherings and other measures,” it said.

(Daily Mirror)

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