May Day and May Days in a political landscape like no other

In keeping with the Government’s decision to postpone May Day rallies, as they overlapped with the Vesak celebrations this week, the major political parties will have their respective rallies and conventions today and tomorrow in Colombo.

JVP preparations underway at the BRC grounds for tomorrow’s celebration. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera

The United National Party (UNP) is scheduled to hold its May Day rally, sans a procession, at Sugathadasa Stadium today at 10 am.

UNP Colombo MP Mujibur Rahman told the Sunday Times that the convention was fixed for today, as the stadium has already been reserved for another event tomorrow.

The United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) will hold its May Day convention at Chenkaladi grounds, Batticaloa, tomorrow, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena. The party, along with its local supporters and other minority parties within the alliance, are preparing to ensure a significant turnout for the event.

On hearing of the UPFA’s May Day rally in Batticaloa, the families of Enforced Missing Persons (EMP) in the district will stage a protest against it, as they are mourning for the wartime dead in May, ahead of the May 18 commemorative events.

“Our relatives were taken away and made to disappear by the security forces during the end of the war. Today, our plight is terrible, as most of the women-headed households are struggling in poverty, sans male breadwinners. How can we accept that Government?” asked A. Amalanayaki, head of EMPs Collective in Batticaloa.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by Joint Opposition (JO) MPs, is to stage its May Day rally march starting from Mahamodara in Galle at 1 pm and proceed to Samanala grounds for its convention.

The May Day rally of the Peoples’ Liberation Front (JVP) will leave Campbell Park, Borella, around 1 pm and proceed to the Burgher Recreation Club (BRC) grounds, Havelock Town, for the party convention. Earlier on Tuesday (1), the JVP also held another separate May Day rally in the North.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) held its annual May Day rally at two different venues, Nelliadi North and Batticaloa East. The TNA’s May Day convention urged the Government and the international community to find a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in the country.

Other minor political parties and trade unions held separate May Day rallies in Colombo and Jaffna on May 1, ignoring Government request to postpone it to May 7.

Among them were Frontline Socialist Party at Fort Railway Station, and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) at Kittu Park in Jaffna, while the Jaffna University’s non-academic staff held its rally at the University Premises.

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