As Sri Lanka backs freedom of expression at UNGA, police arrest dozens of protesters at home

During the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA), Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said, ‘We unconditionally recognize the fact that one has a fundamental right to the freedom of expression, which we all treat as being sacrosanct. However, it must also be appreciated that this freedom must be within the constitutional order, and must be exercised having regard to one’s fundamental duty to express oneself within the confines of the law’.

On the same day, 84 persons were arrested, after police unleashed tear gas and water cannons at the protesters who took part in a protest organized by the Socialist Youth Union against state suppression of citizens’ rights. This happened a day after President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared prominent locations around key government buildings as high-security zones, effectively outlawing protests in their vicinity.