Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka government intensifies crackdown on social media

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 9 April 2020

The arrest of social media users exposing Colombo’s inadequate responses to COVID-19 will be extended to online publishers and media outlets.

Sri Lanka: Billions to big business as government prepares new attacks on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 April 2020

No meaningful government funds have been provided for personal protection equipment for health workers, ventilators for patients or kits for mass coronavirus testing.

Sri Lankan SEP to re-broadcast online public meeting: “The COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist barbarism”

By the Socialist Equality Party, 7 April 2020

The video will be re-broadcast today—Tuesday, April 7—at 3 p.m. on the party’s official Facebook page.

Tea estate workers in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as medical workers in India and Papua New Guinea strike over COVID-19 dangers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

4 April 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan medical experts demand mass coronavirus testing

By Naveen Dewage, 2 April 2020

The dangerous conditions facing millions of Sri Lankan workers, farmers and the poor are the result of decades of government cuts to the health system and other vital services.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online event: “COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist barbarism”

1 April 2020

The event will be live-streamed through the SEP’s official Facebook page.

Sri Lankan president grants clemency to war criminal

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 30 March 2020

By releasing a war criminal Rajapakse has declared that the military will have the immunity for past and future crimes against the masses.

Coronavirus crisis in Sri Lanka: A program for the working class

the Socialist Equality Party, 28 March 2020

The Rajapakse government is exploiting the pandemic to prepare a presidential dictatorship and impose even deeper attacks on the working class and the poor.

Sri Lankan doctors speak out over coronavirus dangers facing health workers

By Sakuna Jayawardena, 28 March 2020

Hospital workers are making a huge effort to treat the rising number of patients, but they lack the protective gear they need.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists begin election campaign with online meeting

By our reporters, 26 March 2020

The rally attracted the attention of a politically enthusiastic and significant audience in Sri Lanka and internationally.

Sri Lankan workers and young people endorse SEP’s election program

By our reporters, 26 March 2020

“The coronavirus pandemic has proven that the nation-state system is irrational.”

Two Sri Lankan prisoners killed and six injured amid national coronavirus lockdown

By Saman Gunadasa and K.Ratnayake, 23 March 2020

Reports indicate Sri Lankan prisons are so congested that, in some cases, 5,000 inmates are crammed into facilities meant to accommodate 800 people.

Fight for an international socialist program against war, social devastation and dictatorship

Vote Socialist Equality Party in the Sri Lankan general election

Manifesto of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 21 March 2020

The working class needs a revolutionary leadership in its struggle against capitalist reaction and the preparations for a presidential dictatorship.

Sri Lankan government responds to COVID-19 by mobilising the military and helping the financial elite

By Saman Gunadasa, 18 March 2020

There are concerns in ruling circles that the lack of health facilities and job security, along with wage cuts, will lead to major social struggles.

Sri Lankan SEP to launch election campaign with live streamed online public meeting

18 March 2020

The SEP is fighting for the independent mobilisation of the working class for international socialism and against deepening social inequality, imperialist war and the threat of dictatorship.

Tamil Nadu sanitary workers demand permanent jobs; Sri Lankan plantation workers strike; New Zealand bus drivers resume industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 March 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan president militarises administration to stop strikes and civil unrest

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 13 March 2020

Ex-military officers appointed by Rajapakse to civil sector posts have begun openly expressing their hostility to fundamental democratic rights.

Modi government leaves millions of Indians vulnerable to coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 9 March 2020

Given India’s high population density and dysfunctional public health system, its population is threatened by any rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Sri Lankan government withdraws from UN resolutions in order to boost the military

By W.A. Sunil, 7 March 2020

Rajapakse’s government is moving toward dictatorial rule amid mounting economic problems and social tensions.

Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament, calls national election

By K. Ratnayake, 6 March 2020

Rajapakse and his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna hope to win a two-thirds majority in order to reinstate, and expand, the president’s anti-democratic executive powers.

Sri Lankan SEP hold rally in defence of Assange and Manning

By our correspondents, 5 March 2020

About 60 workers, young people and housewives joined the picket, which was held outside Fort Railway station in Colombo.

Sri Lanka: Prominent journalist and cartoonist call for Julian Assange’s freedom

By our correspondent, 5 March 2020

Well-known Daily Mirror journalist and cartoonist Gihan de Chickera stated: “Assange, and journalists everywhere, must be free to continue their work unhindered.”

Sri Lankan government, companies and unions conspire to impose harsh wage deal on estate workers

By M. Thevarajah, 2 March 2020

A scheme is being prepared behind the backs of workers to impose exploitative new work models.

Over 200,000 teachers strike in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 29 February 2020

Thousands of teachers marched to the education ministry in Colombo as public school teachers across the island struck to defend free education and demand better salaries and conditions.

Sri Lankan teachers denounce the government and unions

By our reporting team, 29 February 2020

“It’s time for all workers—teachers and workers from the railway and the banks—to fight together and not be divided by their professions or trade unions.”

Indian primary school teachers demonstrate; Sri Lankan police attack sacked public sector workers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 February 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lanka: New Tamil alliance declares pro-US agenda

By R. Shreeharan, 27 February 2020

Though this alliance proclaims itself an “alternative” to the discredited TNA, all of its constituent parties and groups have closely associated with the TNA in the past.

Free Assange and Manning! SEP and IYSSE to hold demonstration in Colombo

27 February 2020

Assange and Manning are being persecuted because they dared to expose US war crimes and government corruption.

Sri Lanka: IMF presses new government to implement austerity

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 February 2020

The Rajapakse government is desperately trying to patch up the ailing economy, which registered just 2.6 percent growth in 2019—the lowest since 2002.

Tamil Nadu public transport workers demonstrate; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers protest; Jetstar baggage handlers on strike in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

22 February 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan school teachers join rising opposition to Rajapakse government

By Kapila Fernando and Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 February 2020

In opposition to racist provocations whipped up by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite, teachers from the north and east of the island participated in the Colombo protest.

US imposes travel ban on Sri Lankan army chief

By K. Ratnayake, 19 February 2020

Washington is demanding every faction of Colombo’s political elite line up with its war preparations against China.

Sri Lankan government prepares to privatise Kahatagaha graphite mines

By Naveen Dewage, 17 February 2020

Kahatagaha mine workers will face management demands for increased production and job cuts to make the company profitable.

India: Punjab government teachers protest against privatisation; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers demonstrate; New Caledonia miners strike against long hours

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 February 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan prime minister’s India visit underscores deepening geostrategic rivalry

By K. Ratnayake, 14 February 2020

The US and India are making clear to the new Sri Lankan president that his government must not re-establish close relations with China.

Sri Lanka: former northern chief minister seeks to divert campaign over “disappeared persons” to appeals to major powers

By S. Jayanth, 11 February 2020

Like the Colombo establishment, the TPA, TNA and other Tamil groups are terrified of unified struggles, since they would open the way to the independent mobilisation of the working class.

Police crackdown on sacked workers after Sri Lankan president’s “Independence Day” speech

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 February 2020

The police action is a warning that the Rajapakse government will not tolerate any challenge to its big-business, cost-cutting agenda.

Sri Lankan union leader Saman Ratnapriya paid off with a parliamentary position

By Rohantha De Silva, 8 February 2020

The United National Party has rewarded Ratnapriya for his treacherous service to the previous Wickremesinghe government, and his more than 20-year defence of capitalist rule in Sri Lanka.

India: 10,000 Karnataka midday-meal workers strike indefinitely; Tahiti workers strike against Macron’s pensions “reforms”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

8 February 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Kahatagaha miners in Sri Lanka must fight for socialist policies

By Naveen Dewage, 7 February 2020

The three-day walkout by graphite miners in defiance of their unions indicates the increasing radicalisation of the working class and the rapid break up of illusions in the new government.

Sri Lanka: The ruling elite’s hollow national independence celebrations

By K. Ratnayake, 6 February 2020

The past seven decades of so-called “independence” has seen successive governments viciously suppress the masses and defend capitalist rule.

Sri Lanka: Presidential commission orders halt to trial of naval officers over abductions

By S. Jayanth, 5 February 2020

The attempt to use the presidential commission to interfere in the work of the attorney general is a threat to basic democratic rights and legal norms.

Sri Lankan Tamil party leaders ready to work with President Rajapakse

By Subash Somachandran and S. Jayanth, 4 February 2020

Having previously stated that Gotabhaya Rajapakse had “authoritarian tendencies,” the Tamil National Alliance leadership is offering to help the new president impose his pro-business program.

Amid global war on journalism, Tamil journalists sent death threats in Sri Lanka

By Naveen Dewage, 31 January 2020

Violence and intimidation against media workers has increased since last year’s election of President Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

Sri Lanka: Pseudo-left blames working people for Rajapakse’s election victory

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 31 January 2020

The responsibility for Rajapakse coming to power squarely rests with the pseudo-left groups, such as the NSSP, as well as the trade unions, the JVP and the Tamil bourgeois parties which promoted the UNP as the lesser evil.

Sri Lankan president’s bogus wage increase for plantation workers

By M. Thevarajah, 30 January 2020

Rajapakse’s fraudulent proposal is bound up with preparations for a major restructuring of the tea industry in Sri Lanka and a massive social assault on the low-paid plantation workers.

Sri Lankan president declares wartime missing persons dead

By S. Jayanth, 29 January 2020

As the former defense secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse presided over the military and was responsible for the death squads that abducted and killed Tamil youth, journalists and critics during the war.

Sri Lankan graphite mine workers strike over pay and conditions

By our correspondents, 25 January 2020

This week’s walkout is the first workers’ strike this year against the new Rajapakse government.

Indian midday-meal workers strike for higher wages; Australian rail workers strike again

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 January 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan president announces major tax concessions for foreign investors

By W.A. Sunil, 24 January 2020

Colombo has reactivated its Strategic Development Projects Act in a desperate attempt to boost foreign direct investment.

US official delivers Trump’s threatening message to Sri Lankan president

By K. Ratnayake, 20 January 2020

Sri Lanka is a key focus of intensifying rivalry between US and India, on one hand, and China and Russia, on the other.

Sri Lankan SEP holds public meeting: How to fight the new Rajapakse regime

By our correspondents, 16 January 2020

About 150 workers, youth, professionals and housewives, including party members and supporters from Colombo and outstations, attended the event held in Colombo Public Library Auditorium.

Sri Lankan Central Bank chief demands “structural reform”

By Saman Gunadasa, 15 January 2020

Lakshman’s statements indicate that the government is preparing to further impose the burden of the country’s economic crisis on the back of the working people.

Sri Lankan president outlines big business, communalist policy to parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 10 January 2020

Rajapakse’s demagogy about fighting terrorism, extremism and disruptions to public order are aimed at justifying state suppression of inevitable struggles against his government by workers and the poor.

Sri Lanka: SEP meeting in Colombo demands release of Assange and Manning

By our correspondents, 7 January 2020

Afterwards, a University of Colombo student, declared: “I agree with the point made in this meeting that the fight for the freedom of Assange is so crucial for the defence of democratic rights internationally.”

Sri Lankan police arrest two former government ministers

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 4 January 2020

The Rajapakse government’s attacks on political opponents is a warning to the working class.

Sri Lankan president expands Rajapakse family political power

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 19 December 2019

Rajapakse is determined to abolish the 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution which places restrictions on presidential powers, insisting that he needs a “strong government.”

Sri Lankan authorities delay on whether to prosecute award-winning writer Shakthika Sathkumara

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 16 December 2019

Sri Lanka’s ruling elite is whipping up religious communalism to counter the development of unified mass action by workers, youth and the rural poor against government austerity and attacks on democratic rights.

Sri Lankan SEP/IYSSE to hold public meeting on how to fight the new Rajapakse regime

14 December 2019

We urge workers, young people, intellectuals and everyone concerned about these vital issues to attend our meeting and participate in this important political discussion.

SEP/IYSSE public meeting in Colombo: Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!

14 December 2019

We urge all workers, youth and all those who cherish democratic rights to come forward and defeat the attack on Assange and Manning.

World Bank economist warns of worsening crisis in Sri Lanka

By Saman Gunadasa, 12 December 2019

International finance capital is demanding the new regime in Colombo fully implement the IMF’s austerity measures.

Sri Lankan president appoints former military officers to head state institutions

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 11 December 2019

Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse confronts a deepening economic crisis and widespread anti-government sentiment among workers, youth and the rural masses.

New Sri Lankan president visits India amid growing geo-political tensions

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 9 December 2019

Rajapakse’s trip was an attempt to demonstrate that his government will not threaten the interests of India and its strategic partner, the US.

Workers must adopt a socialist internationalist program to oppose Sri Lanka’s authoritarian, communalist Rajapakse regime

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 7 December 2019

Rajapakse’s aim is to secure the two-thirds parliamentary majority necessary to repeal a key constitutional amendment and give the president sweeping authoritarian powers.

Sri Lankan president prorogues parliament to try to consolidate his rule

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 December 2019

Gotabhaya Rajapakse is aiming to seize all governmental powers and thereby strengthen his hand against the working class and his political rivals.

Thousands of Sri Lankan estate workers strike over workloads and wages

By M. Thevarajah and K. Kandipan, 5 December 2019

Strikes have erupted already in tea plantations following last month’s presidential election.

Sri Lankan president appoints minority government and puts security forces on alert

By Saman Gunadasa, 29 November 2019

While the new administration will continue draconian “national security” measures, it confronts deep-seated popular opposition to the attacks on social and democratic rights.

US puts new Sri Lankan president on notice

By K. Ratnayake, 20 November 2019

While Pompeo couched his message to Rajapakse in terms of “human rights,” Washington’s real concern is that the new president will re-orient Sri Lanka towards China.

Former top military official wins Sri Lankan presidential election

By K. Ratnayake, 18 November 2019

Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s election marks a sharp shift towards autocratic forms of rule, amid a deepening crisis of Sri Lankan capitalism and the rising resistance of the working class to austerity measures.

Sri Lankan presidential election: Workers must prepare to fight moves towards police-state rule

By K. Ratnayake, 16 November 2019

Calls by the major candidates for “strong government”—code-words for the development of dictatorial methods—are a response to the growing opposition of workers and the poor to government austerity.

Sri Lankan SEP holds final presidential election meeting

By our correspondents, 15 November 2019

The SEP and IYSSE campaigned extensively in Colombo’s working-class neighbourhoods, and amongst students and the urban poor, in the lead-up to the meeting.

Sri Lanka: SEP presidential candidate exposes pseudo-lefts’ pro-capitalist program at university debate

By our correspondents, 13 November 2019

Wijesiriwardena explained the underlying principles of the Socialist Equality Party’s socialist internationalism and the necessity for the independent mobilisation of the working class in every country.

Sri Lankan daily interviews SEP presidential candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena

12 November 2019

Below is the text of Pani Wijesiriwardena's interview by Sri Lanka's leading newspaper, the Daily Mirror, which published it last week under the title “Capitalism offers no solutions to the dangers facing workers: Pani Wijesiriwardena”

Vote for Pani Wijesiriwardena in the Sri Lankan presidential election! Rally to fight for international socialism!

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 12 November 2019

Pani Wijesiriwardena is standing on behalf of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka on a revolutionary socialist and internationalist program, against imperialist war, social inequality and authoritarian rule.

Sri Lanka: Pseudo-left NSSP promotes UNP presidential candidate

By Vilani Peiris and K. Ratnayake, 11 November 2019

The NSSP and its presidential candidate are trying to tie the working class to the United National Party and capitalist rule.

Build a mass movement to free class-war prisoners Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

SEP (Sri Lanka) presidential candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena, 9 November 2019

Assange and Manning are being persecuted because the US and its imperialist allies are preparing for war and want to silence all honest journalists and fighters for the truth.

An appeal from Pani Wijesiriwardena, SEP (Sri Lanka) presidential candidate

Defend the striking transport workers in Telengana, India

8 November 2019

“Workers in India, Sri Lanka, throughout South Asia and internationally must not allow capitalist governments to unleash these reactionary social attacks on any section of the working class.”

Sri Lankan SEP holds presidential election meeting in Hatton

By our correspondents, 6 November 2019

Estate workers, students and youth discussed the necessity for a socialist and internationalist program at a public meeting in the key tea plantation district.

Why the Sri Lankan Tamil parties appeal to the UNP and SLPP presidential candidates

Pani Wijesiriwardena--presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party, 4 November 2019

The Tamil parties, like their bourgeois counterparts in Colombo, fear the unity of workers across ethnic lines.

Sri Lanka: SEP presidential candidate addresses meetings in war-ravaged north

By our reporters, 30 October 2019

The SEP presidential candidate explained that the democratic rights of the oppressed can be achieved only in the struggle for socialism.

Eightieth birthday tribute to Sri Lankan Trotskyist Nanda Wickremasinghe

By David North, 26 October 2019

Nanda Wickremasinghe, who turned 80 on October 15, is a founding member of the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI.

Sri Lankan SEP holds inaugural presidential election meeting

By our correspondents, 26 October 2019

Speakers explained that the Socialist Equality Party is the only one presenting an international socialist program for the working class and the poor.

Vote for SEP candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena in the Sri Lankan presidential election

Build a socialist movement against imperialist war, austerity and dictatorship

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 October 2019

There is no solution to the immense dangers facing workers in Sri Lanka and internationally—war, austerity and the threat of dictatorship and fascism—within the framework of capitalism and its outmoded nation state system.

Sri Lankan SEP and IYSSE hold successful meeting on India’s Kashmir lockdown

By our correspondents, 19 October 2019

“The Modi government’s anti-democratic moves are not just directed against the Kashmiri people, although they are the immediate target, but against the working class as a whole.”

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

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

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.