Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan SEP presidential candidate holds press conference

By our correspondents, 15 October 2019

“This election is being held in the midst of a growing political and economic crisis of the government and the ruling class as a whole.”

Video: SEP presidential candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena addresses nationally-televised meeting in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 11 October 2019

Wijesiriwardena’s speech was heard by about 4,000 people at the event and watched by tens of thousands across Sri Lanka on two television networks.

Sri Lankan railway unions end strike, after “promises” from President Sirisena

By Pradeep Ramanayake and K. Ratnayake, 9 October 2019

Sirisena’s assurances are worthless but always seized on by the union bureaucracy to shut down industrial action and impose a sell-out.

Sri Lankan SEP announces presidential election campaign public meetings

9 October 2019

The Socialist Equality Party meetings will discuss the vital social and political issues confronting workers, youth and the poor.

Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka to contest the November presidential election

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 5 October 2019

The election has been announced amid rising opposition to the government’s austerity measures and the eruption of mass strikes by public sector workers for higher pay.

Growing strike wave challenges Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 28 September 2019

The Sri Lankan trade unions are hostile to a unified movement of working people against the Colombo government’s IMF-dictated austerity policies.

How to win the teachers’ fight in Sri Lanka

By the Socialist Equality Party teachers group, 25 September 2019

Teachers must organise independently of the unions, build rank-and-file action committees and unite with all other sections of the working class fighting Colombo’s austerity measures.

Sri Lankan SEP/IYSSE public meeting: The political issues at stake in the Indian government’s savage Kashmir lockdown

By the Socialist Equality Party and IYSSE (Sri Lanka), 25 September 2019

We urge workers, youth and WSWS readers to attend our Colombo meeting in order to participate in this important discussion on the political perspective required by the working class, highlighted by Modi’s brutal crackdown in Kashmir.

Sri Lankan university workers indefinite strike at a critical juncture

By our correspondents, 24 September 2019

The treachery of the trade unions demonstrates that workers must take the struggle into their own hands and wage a political fight based on a socialist perspective.

Thousands of Sri Lankan university workers demonstrate in Colombo

By our correspondents, 19 September 2019

In contrast to the efforts of the unions to shut down the strike, workers’ opposition is growing, not only to the government but also to the unions and capitalist parties.

Sri Lanka: Tamil People’s Council calls rally to stir up Tamil nationalism

By M. Thevarajah, 14 September 2019

The reactionary “Rise up Tamils” campaign aims to divide Sri Lankan workers along ethnic lines as they are coming into struggle against Colombo’s austerity measures.

Sri Lankan university workers continue indefinite strike

By W. A. Sunil, 12 September 2019

The unions are looking for any excuse to call off the strike, but workers are calling for an expansion of the struggle.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank demands commercial banks provide cheaper credit

By Saman Gunadasa, 11 September 2019

The demands are a desperate attempt by the Central Bank and the government to halt Sri Lanka’s falling economic growth rates.

Build action committees! Expand the strike!

A socialist perspective for the Sri Lankan university employees’ struggle

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 10 September 2019

Non-academic university staff, who are beginning an indefinite strike today, should expand their struggle by appealing to other sections of the working class.

Sri Lankan university unions threaten indefinite national strike over wages and benefits

By our correspondents, 4 September 2019

Following last week’s two-day strike by non-academic workers, unions covering all university employees have threatened an indefinite national walkout on September 10.

Sri Lankan president “lifts” emergency but armed forces mobilised to “maintain security”

By W.A. Sunil, 29 August 2019

When emergency rule was imposed after the April terrorist bombings, the SEP warned that the real target of the government’s measures was not terrorists, but the working class.

Sri Lankan PM backs Indian repression in Kashmir

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 28 August 2019

The support for New Delhi’s anti-democratic measures in J&K reflects the fact that all factions of Sri Lanka’s ruling elite are moving towards the imposition of dictatorial rule.

Sri Lankan SEP holds “Free Assange” rally and public meeting in Hatton

By our reporters, 21 August 2019

The hour-long morning demonstration won important working-class support in the central province town, which is surrounded by Sri Lanka’s major tea estates.

Sri Lankan opposition party picks Gotabhaya Rajapakse as presidential candidate

By K. Ratnayake, 19 August 2019

The former defence secretary was directly implicated in war crimes and gross human rights abuses during final stages the war against the separatist LTTE.

Persecuted Sri Lankan writer released on bail

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 13 August 2019

Although Shakthika Sathkumara is out on bail, the threat to his freedom of expression and that of other artists remains.

Sri Lankan parliamentary parties back extension of emergency rule

By Saman Gunadasa, 7 August 2019

The endorsement came four days after President Sirisena declared that the railways and public transport were essential services, effectively banning strikes in those sectors.

Sri Lanka: Colombo University students call for release of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 6 August 2019

“American imperialism is now seeking its revenge against Assange because he told the truth.”

Jailed Sri Lankan writer Shakthika Sathkumara defends Julian Assange

By our reporters, 6 August 2019

“The system that has put Assange behind bars is the same system responsible for putting me behind bars in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lankan president extends emergency rule for another month

By K. Ratnayake, 29 July 2019

The real target of the emergency laws is the rising social unrest of workers, students and the poor.

Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka intensifies the campaign to free Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 22 July 2019

The Sri Lankan Trotskyists held a well-attended public meeting in Colombo and a powerful rally in Jaffna.

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna calls for removal of Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 18 July 2019

Under conditions of political crisis, in which the main parties of government are widely discredited, the JVP is proposing itself as the party capable of saving the capitalist system.

Sri Lankan prime minister promotes US defence agreement

By Vijith Samarasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 15 July 2019

Although Wickremesinghe has tabled a planned Status of Forces Agreement with the US, its contents and political implications remain a secret for millions of Sri Lankans.

Sri Lankan writer still detained on bogus blasphemy allegations

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 12 July 2019

The detention of Shakthika Sathkumara is part of the escalating attack by the Sri Lankan political elite against writers, journalists, artists and more broadly the working class.

Strong support for Julian Assange at Sri Lanka’s Jaffna University

By our reporters, 9 July 2019

SEP and IYSSE campaigners campaigned for a July 10 picket that will be held in defence of the WikiLeaks founder in the war-ravaged city.

Sri Lankan president signs four death warrants

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 8 July 2019

The signing of the death warrants comes at a time when the Sri Lankan ruling elite is turning towards more dictatorial forms of rule.

SEP (Sri Lanka) to hold Free Assange meetings and demonstrations

6 July 2019

The SEP and IYSSE calls upon workers, students, youth, artists, journalists and intellectuals to support the campaign to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

Sri Lankan president calls for autocratic executive presidency

By K. Ratnayake, 5 July 2019

The political instability is a result of infighting between factions of the ruling elite against a backdrop of enormous social opposition in Sri Lanka to the austerity agenda.

Sri Lankan railway unions cave in to government’s strike ban

By Saman Gunadasa, 1 July 2019

The RTUA’s betrayal has once again demonstrated that workers cannot defend their democratic rights and fight for jobs and decent working conditions through the trade unions.

SEP wins support for Assange and Manning at Sri Lanka’s Peradeniya university

By our reporters, 29 June 2019

Tenishan, an agriculture student, asked: “Is it democratic to imprison journalists who have revealed war crimes?”

Sharp downturn in Sri Lankan economic growth

By Dilruwan Vithanage, 27 June 2019

International credit rating agency Moody’s revised down its prediction for this year from 3.4 percent to 2.6 percent.

Sri Lankan government moves to criminalise “fake news”

By Naveen Dewage, 19 June 2019

Colombo’s new laws to censor and control the internet and social media are moves towards the establishment of dictatorial forms of rule.

Indian prime minister boosts strategic ties with the Maldives and Sri Lanka

By Rohantha De Silva, 15 June 2019

Modi’s visits were to make clear that New Delhi is determined to prevent China regaining influence in the two Indian Ocean island nations.

Sri Lankan workers need a socialist program to defeat Colombo’s police-state preparations

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 12 June 2019

All factions of the warring Sri Lankan bourgeoisie are united in the use of communalism to divide the working class and in moves towards police-state rule.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists win strong support for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

By our correspondents, 7 June 2019

University students voice their concerns about the US-led assaults on Assange and Manning and speak out in defence of free speech.

Sri Lankan Muslim ministers resign amid growing threats of anti-Muslim violence

By K. Ratnayake, 6 June 2019

Every faction of the ruling elite is systematically using Islamophobia to divide the working class along ethnic and religious lines as part of its preparations for autocratic forms of rule.

Why ISIS launched a terror attack on Sri Lanka

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 May 2019

The US has, over the past four years, taken steps to transform Sri Lanka into an important base for its military operations throughout the region, including the Middle East.

Aftermath of terrorist attack: Sri Lankan SEP public meeting warns about threat of dictatorship

By our reporters, 27 May 2019

The speakers explained that the dictatorial turn by the Sri Lankan government is part of the international response of ruling classes to the resurgence of class struggles.

Tamil nationalists support anti-Muslim witch-hunt in Sri Lanka

By V. Gnana and K. Nesan, 24 May 2019

The bourgeois Tamil National Alliance is joining hands with the government as it sets up a police state targeting the entire working class.

Ten years after civil war ends, Sri Lankan ruling elites prepare for class war

By Pradeep Ramanayake and K. Ratnayake, 22 May 2019

The entire political establishment is preparing another bogus “war on terror” which is targeting the island’s Muslims, but will also be used to suppress the opposition of the working class.

240 Sri Lanka government targets Muslims

18 May 2019

Muslim victims of violence in Sri Lanka speak to the WSWS

By our reporters, 17 May 2019

WSWS reporters visiting Minuwangoda, a bustling town in the Gampaha district of Sri Lanka, discovered a ghost town.

Defeat the government’s police-military dictatorial plans

SEP/IYSSE public meeting in Colombo on Sri Lankan emergency declaration

17 May 2019

The meeting will discuss the revolutionary socialist perspective needed to defend the democratic and social rights of working people.

Sri Lankan austerity measures to deepen after terrorist attack

By Saman Gunadasa, 15 May 2019

In its efforts to justify spending cuts, the government has adopted the slogan, “national security first.”

Sri Lankan government imposes island-wide curfew amid anti-Muslim violence

By K. Ratnayake, 14 May 2019

While the curfew is supposedly to prevent violence, the attacks on Muslims have continued, indicating that the security forces are turning a blind eye to the thugs.

Washington uses terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka to strengthen ties with Colombo

By Rohantha De Silva, 11 May 2019

The “assistance” in the terror investigations is to bind Sri Lanka ever-more closely as Washington steps up its aggressive confrontation with China.

Anti-Muslim witch-hunt after terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 8 May 2019

Alongside a vicious campaign of anti-Muslim propaganda, hundreds of people have been arrested in house-to-house police operations.

SEP (Sri Lanka) holds successful May Day meeting in Colombo, despite government efforts to bar celebrations

By our reporters, 3 May 2019

Some 200 workers, students, youth, professionals and housewives from areas throughout the island attended the meeting.

Sri Lankan SEP denounces political parties’ support for President Sirisena’s police state measures

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 2 May 2019

The SEP warns that the main target of the repressive measures is not Islamic extremists, but working people and their struggles against the government’s austerity agenda.

Tea plantation workers need a global strategy

By Saman Gunadasa, 1 May 2019

Tea plantation workers in India, Kenya and Sri Lanka can end their brutal exploitation only by breaking from the unions and fighting for a unified socialist and internationalist strategy.

Sri Lankan president steps up military crackdown

By K. Ratnayake, 27 April 2019

The all-party conference convened yesterday in the wake of Sunday’s terrorist bombings rubberstamped the draconian police-state measures being rapidly brought into force.

Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka to hold May Day meeting in Colombo

The new wave of international class struggle and the fight for socialism

26 April 2019

The SEP meeting is being called amid growing indications that Colombo may use the recent terrorist bombings as a pretext to ban all May Day events.

Sri Lankan president calls “all-party conference” to rubberstamp emergency powers

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 25 April 2019

Following Sunday’s terrorist bombings, the conference has been called to shore up capitalist rule amid an acute political crisis.

Severe police-state measures come into force in Sri Lanka

By Pani Wijesiriwardena and K. Ratnayake, 24 April 2019

Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the Colombo government is strengthening its security forces amid a resurgence of working-class struggles.

After terrorist bombings, Sri Lankan government imposes draconian national emergency

By K. Ratnayake and Peter Symonds, 23 April 2019

The World Socialist Web Site condemns the horrendous bombings, which indiscriminately killed innocent men, women and children, and have already provided the pretext for sweeping anti-democratic measures.

At least 290 killed in terrorist bomb attacks in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 22 April 2019

Despite an intelligence alert 10 days before, both the government and police failed to warn the public and took little or no action to prevent the terrible bombings.

Sri Lankan bomb survivors and local residents denounce terror attacks

By our correspondents, 22 April 2019

“The aim of this attack could be to instigate communalism and turmoil. It must be totally condemned.”

SEP and IYSSE in Sri Lanka rally to defend Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 17 April 2019

Sri Lankan media outlets, including Veerakesari, Sri Lanka’s main Tamil-language daily newspaper, covered the SEP and IYSSE demonstration in Colombo.

SEP (Sri Lanka) calls urgent picket to defend Assange and Manning

16 April 2019

The protest called by the SEP and IYSSE will be held at 4 pm today at Fort Railway Station, Colombo.

075 Tea industry international exploitation

16 April 2019

Sri Lankan writer imprisoned at instigation of Buddhist extremists

By our correspondents, 13 April 2019

The SEP and the IYSSE condemn the arrest of award-winning Sri Lankan author Shakthika Sathkumara and demand his immediate release.

Arbitrary wage cuts imposed on Sri Lankan estate workers

By W.A. Sunil, 12 April 2019

The Thomson Reuters Foundation research report shows that illegal pay deductions and high workloads are widespread in the plantations.

Sri Lankan government prepares new anti-terrorism laws

By Dilruwan Vithanage and Saman Gunadasa, 9 April 2019

The new bill surpasses the hated PTA measures and will be used to suppress the upsurge of opposition against Colombo’s harsh austerity measures.

UNHRC ignores Sri Lanka’s failure to investigate war crimes

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 3 April 2019

The UNHRC resolution bogusly praised Colombo’s “positive steps” on human rights and gave it two more years to implement previous unfulfilled pledges.

Sri Lankans driven to suicide by exorbitant debt repayments

By Saman Gunadasa, 28 March 2019

Most of those who committed suicide were from the war-ravaged Vavuniya and Jaffna districts in the island’s north and Batticalao in the east.

Sri Lankan think tank warns about growing levels of social inequality

By Dilruwan Vithanage, 26 March 2019

In 2016, the richest 10 percent earned the equivalent of the total amount earned by 70 percent of all households per year.

Plantation workers demand freedom for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and for jailed Maruti Suzuki workers

By our correspondent, 21 March 2019

Last Sunday’s conference in Sri Lanka’s central hills district endorsed resolutions condemning the persecution of Assange, Manning and Maruti-Suzuki workers in India.

Sri Lanka: Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee and SEP hold powerful conference

By our correspondents, 20 March 2019

Over 100 people participated, including estate workers, workers from a diverse range of trades, students and a delegation from Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged northern province.

Support grows for Sri Lankan plantation workers’ conference

By our correspondents, 16 March 2019

Campaign teams hold discussions with workers on estates across the country’s central hill district.

IMF endorses Sri Lankan government budget

By Saman Gunadasa, 14 March 2019

In line with the IMF’s austerity demands, the government budget contains new taxes and rate rises as well as increased spending on the military and the police.

SEP in Sri Lanka wins strong support for plantation workers’ conference

By our reporters, 9 March 2019

Plantation workers welcomed SEP and IYSSE campaigners while angrily denouncing the plantation unions’ betrayal of their wage strike.

Demand the unconditional reinstatement of Sri Lankan plantation worker S. Balasubramaniyam!

By M. Thevarajah and W.A. Sunil, 7 March 2019

Balasubramaniyam’s sacking is part of a broader attack on estate workers by the plantation companies and the government.

SEP meetings launch Tamil edition of The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century

By our correspondents, 6 March 2019

The meetings at Hatton in Sri Lanka’s central plantation district and Jaffna, in the war-ravaged north, attracted important layers of workers and youth.

Greetings from the Sri Lankan Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee to the Assange defence rallies in Australia

2 March 2019

Tea plantation workers struggling for decent working conditions have expressed their solidarity with the fight to free WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

US naval chief denounces China and calls for stronger military partnership with Sri Lanka

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 28 February 2019

Sri Lanka’s strategic location alongside the world’s busiest shipping route is vital to increasingly aggressive US geo-strategic and military manoeuvres against China.

Sri Lankan plantation companies reap huge profits while attacking workers’ wages and conditions

By Saman Gunadasa, 27 February 2019

Plantation workers’ wages are being lowered while giant tea industry corporations and local companies alike thrive through the ruthless exploitation of their workforce.

Frontline Socialist Party prepares political trap for Sri Lankan plantation workers

By K. Ratnayake, 21 February 2019

The FSP is attempting to prevent plantation workers from breaking with the unions and developing an independent struggle against the employers and the government.

Sri Lankan tea plantation workers protest victimisations

By our reporters, 19 February 2019

Demonstrators denounced the unions’ betrayal of recent wage strikes and demanded management immediately end the frame-up of militant Annfield Estate workers.

Sri Lankan president denounces opponents of the death penalty

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 15 February 2019

Sirisena not only wants reinstatement of executions but the endorsement of all human rights organisations.

Sri Lanka: SEP and Abbotsleigh workers’ committee organise picket to oppose witch hunt in plantations

By our reporters, 14 February 2019

The fight against the witch hunt in the plantations is bound up with the defence of the democratic rights of the working class from the onslaught of the capitalist class.

Sri Lankan plantation companies rule out further wage increases after union sellout

By W.A. Sunil, 13 February 2019

The unions’ betrayal of protracted industrial and political action has cleared the way for further attacks on workers by the plantation companies.

The way forward to win wages and social rights

Workers Action Committee in Sri Lanka calls plantation workers’ conference

By the Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee, 12 February 2019

The conference will discuss the lessons of the recent plantation workers’ struggle and the political strategy needed to win their demands.

Sri Lankan president’s Independence Day speech exposes deep crisis of rule

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 9 February 2019

Sirisena bemoaned the failure of successive governments but offered no solution, amid ongoing infighting in ruling circles and mounting opposition by working people to the worsening social crisis.

Sri Lankan tea plantation workers committee supports call for February 9 demonstration in Detroit

By our reporters, 7 February 2019

“We consider the actions taken by the steering committee as a blow not only for the defense of the fundamental rights of the US auto workers but also on behalf of the international working class as a whole.”

Sri Lankan SEP public meetings to launch Tamil edition of The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century

7 February 2019

The book is critical in exposing the many lies perpetrated about the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the subsequent degeneration of the Soviet Union.

Sri Lanka: 16 families homeless after fire at Bogawantalawa tea plantation

By A. Suresh and M. Thevarajah, 4 February 2019

The disaster again highlights the difficult and dangerous conditions facing Sri Lankan plantation workers and their families.

The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century published in Tamil

1 February 2019

The translation of David North’s book is vital for Tamil-speaking workers, youth and intellectuals on the Indian sub-continent, in Sri Lanka, and exile communities around the world.

IMF to resume Sri Lankan loan program discussions

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 January 2019

The Sri Lankan government has assured the IMF of its commitment to “strong” austerity measures.

Sri Lankan plantation workers protest unions’ sellout wage deal

By M. Thevarajah and W.A. Sunil, 29 January 2019

The unions, having suppressed an indefinite strike last month, are imposing an agreement in line with the demands of the plantation companies and the government.

Oppose the Sri Lankan plantation unions’ sellout agreement!

Resolution of the Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee, 29 January 2019

The following resolution, calling for the establishment of action committees at all estates and the rejection of a union sellout deal, was passed at a meeting of plantation workers on Sunday.

Indian teachers, government workers launch indefinite strike in Tamil Nadu

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 January 2019

Defying mass arrests, 700,000 workers have been on strike since Tuesday, part of a growing global working class upsurge.

Sri Lankan president praises Philippine-style “war on drugs”

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 23 January 2019

Sirisena’s support for Duterte’s death squads and police-state violence points to Sri Lankan preparations for dictatorial methods of rule.

The US boosts military ties with Sri Lanka

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 17 January 2019

US Navy moves to establish a logistics hub at Trincomalee port come as the Trump administration ratchets up its trade war measures against China.

Sri Lankan workers must oppose the witch-hunt of militant plantation workers

By M. Thevarajah, 16 January 2019

Plantation bosses, with the backing of the government, police and the unions, are attempting to intimidate estate workers and suppress their wage demands.

Sri Lankan government proposes pay “formula” to end plantation workers’ struggle

By W.A. Sunil, 15 January 2019

The aim of the suggested three-year wage plan is to impose the burden of the crisis in the plantation industry onto workers.

Sri Lankan president issues bogus promise to fulfil election pledges

By K. Ratnayake, 11 January 2019

Sirisena is attempting to cement an alliance with former President Mahinda Rajapakse against the United National Party-led government.