[Update: MP Namal Rajapaksa's recent tweet confirmed that JO leaders, including Mahinda Rajapaksa will join alongside the other protesters at the Bo Gaha junction in Fort, near the Fort Railway Station.]
"Janabalaya Kolambata” – the Joint Opposition (JO) political alliance’s mass rally takes place in Colombo today (September 5th), and it’s expected that groups of supporters from all corners of the country will be travelling to the capital to participate in this. According to a recent news briefing, MP Namal Rajapaksa has said that this protest march will be carried out in a peaceful way, and no harm would be caused either to the general public or to public property.
Although, based on an announcement made by President Maithripala Sirisena, Divaina newspaper reported that the protesters might raid the parliament, as a part of this mass rally. The police attempted to obtain a prohibition order to forbid protests within the Welikada and Cinnamon Gardens police domains, but the court rejected the request yesterday.
One of the most confusing things about this protest is that nobody really knows where it will take place. The JO stated that the initial payments made for reserving Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Lalith Athulathmudali Stadium, Gunasinghepura and Campbell Park have been already cancelled.
According to MP Udaya Gammanpila, the organizers and the supporters of the JO planning a night out in Colombo city itself.
As mentioned previously, it's on 5th of September 2018 – that's confirmed.
What Can We Do?
The presence of protesters are expected by this evening. MP Kanchana Wijesekera stated that anyone who is against the present Government can join this rally regardless of their party affiliations, as it's a protest which aspires to form a new Government. They're also planning to raid and surround some of Colombo's public places.
It has been reported that the rally could affect daily life of the general public. There's a pretty good chance that there will be heavy traffic congestion during and after school and office hours. Given the size of the expected crowd, it's assumed that they'd choose a place between De Soysa Circus (Lipton roundabout) and Galle Face. The Temple Trees is also situated in Kollupitiya, which could create a huge traffic jam in the area.
Though this may not be one of those situations in which you should pick up your kid early from school, or take an off day/half-day from work, it's essential to look for alternative routes, methods of transportation, and ways to avoid traffic; as blocked and congested roads are to be expected.
We hope there will not be any violence, however there's still a posibility that police will fire tear gas and high pressure water in order to disperse crowds. So it's best to be informed on how to survive if the situation arises.