The Bar Association of Sri Lanka says recent protests that have led to violence with protesters targeting private property of certain individuals and causing destruction to property including their homes is criminal and can lead to those participating in such protests being charged in courts of law.
The BASL President issuing a statement today unequivocally condemned such criminal acts and called on authorities to take action according to the law, whilst safeguarding the rights of those who protest peacefully.
The BASL said it consistently stands for the rights of people to protest and express dissent peacefully.
Apart from urging authorities on numerous occasions to respect this right, BASL President Saliya Peiris said members of the Association also appeared in courts to represent those who have been unfairly arrested and detained for merely participating in public protests.
The BASL reiterated the position taken up in its statement on the 2nd of April that if a peaceful protest becomes violent, that will only dilute the objective and purpose of a peaceful expression of dissent and strengthen the hands of those who seek to supress legitimate dissent.
The statement added those engaged in protests must take utmost care to ensure that such protests remain peaceful and be wary of persons who might seek to cause violence and destruction during such protests.
The BASL noted that the protests have been aggravated by the conduct of authorities including the declaration of the state of emergency, the ban on social media and the failure to come up with an acceptable solution to the demands of the public.