Independence Square at Colombo 7 is a symbol of Sri Lanka’s freedom, but do all of the country’s citizens have the freedom to use this public space?
Sri Lankans and foreigners alike visit this iconic landmark, everyday. Given the name of the square, many citizens may believe that they can spend their leisure time here in the spirit of freedom.
However, social media is rife with reports that certain sections of the populace have been forced to face some unpleasantness at this location.
Don’t people visiting Independence Square have the right to sit here in peace and enjoy their freedom?
Speaking to News 1st, the Director to the Department of Cultural Affairs Anusha Gokula stated that there is “no rule which says that couples cannot go there”. She made it clear that there is a rule against loitering around in the area.
The Director to the Department of Cultural Affairs also noted that the Independence Square is public property so the public can go there and see the monument.
Following the outcry on social media, activists gathered at the square on Sunday (March 6) in a silent protest against the incident.
Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva arrived at the square during the protest and inquired into the incident.
Please watch video
Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva argues the law with security guards at the Independence Square.Scenes from the #OccupyTheSquare protest at #IndependenceSquare.නියෝජ්ය අමාත්ය හර්ෂ ද සිල්වා නිදහස් චතුරස්රයේ සිටි ආරක්ෂක නිලධාරීන්ට නීතිය ඉගැන් වූ හැටි
Posted by Newsfirst.lk on Sunday, March 6, 2016
When News 1st made inquiries from the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, which is affiliated with the organisation which supply security guards to the Independence Square, Chairman Asela Iddawela stated that it is the Department of Cultural Affairs that sets the rules and regulations. He also noted that an inquiry will be carried out regarding the conduct of the security officers in question.
The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation also stated that the Operations Director of the Private Security Company has been suspended effective immediately following his intervention at the demonstration on Sunday. He added that the suspension will remain in effect until the inquiry is concluded.