Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan prime minister admits US is behind Colombo Port deal with India

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 14 August 2020

The Colombo Port workers’ struggle has demonstrated that the US and India want Sri Lanka tied to their strategic and military moves against nuclear-armed China.

Sri Lankan election exposes historic crisis of capitalist rule

By K. Ratnayake, 11 August 2020

The election is not a “people’s victory,” but an electoral win by a party preparing for authoritarian rule under President Rajapakse who has already appointed a host of generals to his administration.

Indian railway and Sri Lankan port workers oppose privatisation; Australian supermarket warehouse employees stop work over COVID-19 infection

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

8 August 2020

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Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna wins election setting the stage for an eruption of working-class struggles

By K. Ratnayake, 7 August 2020

While President Rajapakse hopes that an absolute parliamentary majority and new dictatorial measures will allow him to take on the working class, the eruption of militant struggles will assume revolutionary proportions.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists hold final online election meeting

By our correspondents, 6 August 2020

The Socialist Equality Party held its last meeting on August 2, after a determined election campaign that reached key sections of the Sri Lankan working class and youth.

Sri Lanka: TNA election manifesto prepares imperialist-backed deal with President Rajapakse

By Saman Gunadasa, 5 August 2020

The venal Tamil bourgeoisie has lined up with the geopolitical interest of the US which is preparing war against China.

Vote for SEP candidates in the Sri Lankan national elections! Fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government and socialist internationalism!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 3 August 2020

The SEP is the only party in the elections advancing an international socialist program to fight the crisis created by COVID-19, defend democratic rights and oppose imperialist war.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting to conclude its election campaign

1 August 2020

The SEP is the only party fighting for an international socialist perspective against deepening social inequality, the danger of imperialist war and the threat of dictatorship.

India: Punjab health workers strike for permanent jobs; Asahi auto glass-making workers strike in Chennai; Woolworths Distribution Centre workers locked out in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

1 August 2020

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SEP election campaign in Sri Lanka: Workers denounce establishment parties

By our reporters, 25 July 2020

Over the past weeks, SEP campaigners have discussed with workers and youth the need to politically fight on the basis of a socialist program.

Indian health workers protest over COVID-19 treatment discrimination and wages; Western Australian caterers and cleaners strike on offshore gas platforms

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 July 2020

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Sri Lankan SEP election meeting discusses working-class response to COVID-19 pandemic

By our correspondents, 22 July 2020

More than 2,000 people—in Sri Lanka and internationally—have watched SEP’s online event, posting comments and questions about the party’s program.

India: Over 40,000 Karnataka health workers begin indefinite state-wide strike; Pakistani doctors protest and Sri Lanka nurses demand overtime pay

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 July 2020

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Tamil National Alliance offers to support Sri Lankan president’s autocratic rule

By Paramu Thirugnanasambanthar—lead SEP candidate for Jaffna district, 17 July 2020

The TNA is offering to support Rajapakse’s moves to dictatorial forms of rule as long as he makes concessions, no matter how small, to the interests of the venal Tamil elites.

As support widens for SEP defence campaign

Sri Lanka army commander says allegations of military harassment of northern election candidates are “false”

By our correspondents, 16 July 2020

Army commander Shavendra Silva’s claims and his refusal to acknowledge the detailed evidence provided by the SEP are a veiled threat against all election candidates in the North.

Amid Sri Lankan elections, YouTube censors Tamil-language WSWS posts

By V. Gnana, 16 July 2020

The move aims to prevent the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka from alerting Tamil-speaking workers internationally in a timely fashion of the political dangers they face.

210 YouTube censors WSWS Tamil podcasts

15 July 2020

999 Tamil National Alliance reiterates its support for Rajapakse government

13 July 2020

Letters demand Sri Lankan defence secretary stop military harassment of SEP candidates

By our correspondents, 9 July 2020

This campaign is part of broader struggle to defend the democratic rights of all working people against dictatorial measures.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists hold first online election rally

By our correspondent, 7 July 2020

The SEP is the only party advancing an international socialist program in the Sri Lankan national elections.

Vote SEP in the Sri Lankan general election

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) to hold second online election rally

6 July 2020

The SEP’s online meeting will discuss critical political developments in Sri Lanka and internationally and the tasks facing the working class.

Sri Lankan president orders Central Bank to give more credit to big business

By Saman Gunadasa, 4 July 2020

While providing huge financial concessions to the banks and big business, the government is imposing greater economic burdens on workers and the poor.

NSSP leader contests Sri Lankan elections on United National Party slate

By Vilani Peiris—leader of the SEP slate for Colombo district, 25 June 2020

The NSSP’s decision to contest with the UNP is a further expression of the right-wing political degeneration of this middle-class formation and other pseudo-left groups internationally.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold first election rally online on June 28

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 24 June 2020

The SEP meeting will discuss the crucial political developments in Sri Lanka and internationally and the tasks before the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan soldiers kill Tamil youth in Jaffna

By Wimal Perera, 23 June 2020

The shooting of Thiraviyam Ramalingam is part of the army occupation of the North and East and President Rajapakse’s increasing militarisation of his rule.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on global protests against police murders

By Wije Dias, 22 June 2020

Wije Dias, General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, delivered the main speech at an online meeting on the global protests against the police killings and moves towards autocratic methods of rule.

Sri Lankan police violently suppress protest against the killing of George Floyd

By our reporters, 12 June 2020

The police attack is a message from the Rajapakse administration that it will not tolerate any opposition from workers, young people and the poor.

Sri Lankan workers and youth denounce police murder of George Floyd

By Saman Gunadasa, 11 June 2020

“White and black must unite and fight against persecution and repression.”

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting against murder of George Floyd in the US

11 June 2020

The SEP will hold an online public meeting, titled “The international wave of struggles against the killing of Floyd in US and plans for capitalist dictatorship,” on Sunday, June 14 at 3 p.m. local time.

Sri Lankan president establishes military taskforce: Another step toward dictatorship

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 9 June 2020

The working class can stop the threat of a dictatorship only by mobilising its independent strength to overthrow capitalism.

Sri Lankan health workers protest wage and transport cuts during pandemic

By W. A. Sunil, 4 June 2020

While hospital workers across all grades and union affiliations participated in the protests the unions are seeking to head off a confrontation with the government.

Tamil nationalists exploit remembrance of war victims to advance pro-imperialist agenda

By Subash Somachandran, 4 June 2020

Last month marked the eleventh anniversary of the bloody end of Sri Lanka’s nearly 30-year war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

SEP (Sri Lanka) calls for action committees to counter COVID-19 and defend jobs

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 2 June 2020

In defending their rights, workers cannot rely on the trade unions which have become appendages of big business.

Indian autoworkers strike for COVID-19 safety measures; Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers demonstrate

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

30 May 2020

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Sri Lankan government responds to rising COVID-19 infections by abandoning expatriate workers

By Saman Gunadasa, 29 May 2020

The Rajapakse government’s ruthless attitude towards the stranded migrant workers is matched by its hostility to ordinary people inside Sri Lankan.

COVID-19 destroys almost half a million tourism jobs in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 28 May 2020

Big tourist companies demand more funds to revive their businesses, not out of sympathy for workers, but to boost profits.

Sri Lankan Everbest garment workers protest job and wage cuts

By our reporters, 26 May 2020

The trade unions, like the counterparts around the world, are assisting the government and the employers.

Sri Lankan government understates COVID-19 figures to recklessly reopen economy

By Naveen Dewage, 23 May 2020

The low number of infections in Sri Lanka is because few COVID-19 tests are being conducted—an average of less than 600 per day between February 18 and May 20.

Sri Lankan president demands legal immunity for the military

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 May 2020

The real purpose of Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s defence and promotion of the military is to prepare for another savage war against the working class.

Seven Sri Lankan families homeless after plantation fire

By M. Thevarajah, 20 May 2020

Fires frequently occur in the old and rundown estate plantation line rooms.

COVID-19: Military steps up repression in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 16 May 2020

The government and the military are nervous about the growing unrest among workers and poor against the draconian social conditions.

Worsening conditions at Hirdaramani garment plants in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 16 May 2020

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a wave of wage and job cuts and the imposition of increased working hours and productivity targets.

Sri Lanka’s pseudo-left FSP and its phony defence of democracy

By K. Ratnayake, 14 May 2020

The working class can combat threat of a dictatorship only by the independent mobilisation of its political strength, not by pleading for “reconvening parliament.”

Sri Lankan president “reopens economy” despite pandemic

By W.A. Sunil, 13 May 2020

The Rajapakse regime is seeking to overcome the economic crisis at the expense of the health and lives of working people.

Tamil National Alliance backs Sri Lanka’s Rajapakse regime on COVID-19

By Athiyan Silva, 9 May 2020

TNA leader M.A. Sumanthiran declared that he does not “allow political opinions or differences…not only in our country but throughout the world.”

Workers in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan strike to demand coronavirus-safe working conditions

Workers Struggles: Asia

9 May 2020

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Mired in debt, Sri Lankan government vows to avoid default

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 May 2020

Big businesses and the government are translating this economic crisis into a massive attack on jobs, wages and all hard-won workers’ rights.

Millions in South Asia react with shock and horror at ruling elite’s incompetence over pandemic

By Wije Dias, 6 May 2020

The capitalist system failed from the pandemic’s outset to identify or treat hundreds of thousands of ordinary people.

US trains Sri Lankan naval elite forces during COVID-19 lockdown

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 4 May 2020

US combat training of Sri Lankan navy personnel forces is part of Washington’s military preparations throughout the Indo-Pacific against China.

Sri Lankan president continues to entrench autocratic rule

By K. Ratnayake, 30 April 2020

Sri Lanka’s main opposition parties have issued a pathetic 10-point appeal to the Sri Lankan president, urging him to reconvene parliament and offering their support.

Work resumes in Sri Lanka’s free trade zones but thousands are sacked

By Nandana Nannetti, 29 April 2020

While the unions are campaigning for big financial subsidies for companies they are not doing anything to defend jobs and wages.

Jaffna health workers complain of poor facilities as pandemic spreads in Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 29 April 2020

Health workers in northern Sri Lanka insist that the insufficiency of tests and shortcomings of health facilities has made the province vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is Sri Lankan President Rajapakse plotting a coup under cover of anti-pandemic measures?

By K. Ratnayake, 28 April 2020

The government is using the COVID-19 pandemic as the pretext to mount a power grab, insert the military into the running of the state, and run roughshod over working people’s democratic rights.

Why Gotabhaya Rajapakse wants Sri Lankan election held as soon as possible

By Vilani Peiris—Socialist Equality Party election group leader for Colombo district, 27 April 2020

Rajapakse wants a quick election before the full brunt of the economic meltdown hits and there is a social explosion by the working class and the poor.

Sri Lankan president says military to impose “discipline” when lockdown ends

By K. Ratnayake, 25 April 2020

Rajapakse’s threats have nothing to do with enforcing “social distancing” and the spread of COVID-19 but are in preparation to suppress mass unrest in the working class.

Sri Lanka: Oppose return to work in unsafe pandemic conditions! No to job destruction!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 18 April 2020

The criminal actions of the Rajapakse government and big business will accelerate the spread of the deadly virus and lead to a further loss of workers’ lives.

TNA offers a “democratic” veneer to Sri Lankan president’s coronavirus emergency powers

By S. Jayanth, 17 April 2020

The Tamil National Alliance is providing political cover for Rajapakse’s rapid moves towards a presidential dictatorship.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on COVID-19 pandemic

By our reporters, 13 April 2020

SEP General Secretary Wije Dias exposed the Rajapakse government’s reactionary response to the disaster and outlined a revolutionary socialist program for the working class.

Against rising social opposition, Sri Lankan prime minister calls for “unity” against COVID-19

By K. Ratnayake, 11 April 2020

Hundreds of thousands of workers have no income and poor farmers in the rural areas have no means of selling what they grow.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.