SEP and IYSSE holds plantation workers’ demonstration to fight for socialist policies


On April 12, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) held a demonstration in Hatton, a major town in Sri Lanka’s central plantation district. It was part of the SEP’s intervention in the ongoing mass movement against President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his government. Central to the party’s campaign is the building of workers’ action committees to independently mobilise the working class on a socialist perspective.

SEP demonstration in Hatton in support of Galle Face Green protest in Colombo [WSWS Media]

Demonstrators held placards calling for removal of the Rajapakse regime, rejection of any future capitalist interim government, repudiation of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt and the building of action committees. Other placards called for mobilisation of the international working class to end the US-NATO proxy war against Russia.

The protest attracted widespread public interest with some young people deciding to join in and many bystanders offering encouragement. Passing vehicles honked their horns in support.

SEP and IYSSE members and supporters campaigned in the Hatton and Maskeliya area in the lead up to the event. They won strong backing from workers and youth in the tea estates who are bitterly angry over the intensification of social attacks by the Rajapakse government.

In spite of ongoing paper shortages in Sri Lanka, over 1,000 copies of the SEP’s April 7 statement in Sinhala and Tamil entitled “Bring down Sri Lanka’s Rajapakse government! Abolish the executive presidency! Form action committees to fight for a socialist program of action!” were printed.

SEP campaigners distributing party statement in Hatton [WSWS Media]

Several other demonstrations have been held in recent days in the central tea plantation districts where most Tamil-speaking workers live, including in Bogawantalawa and Ragala, as well as Hatton. These events were held in support of the ongoing protests in Colombo’s Galle Face Green where tens of thousands are gathered. Many Tamil youth, originally from the plantations but now working in Colombo, have joined the Galle Face Green protests. Tea plantation workers have been heavily impacted by the rapid increases in the cost of food, fuel and other basic necessities. 18/04/22

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