Sri Lanka - One person killed and hundreds injured when police fire into crowd of workers (2012)

A coalition of 26 trade unions was formed to oppose the introduction of a pension fund bill, designed to meet one of the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund for a loan of 2.6 billion dollars to Sri Lanka. On 24 May tens of thousands of workers marched through the streets of Colombo and in the Katunayake export processing zone to protest against the bill. On 29 May, people linked to the government distributed false leaflets in the zone, claiming to be from the trade union coalition, calling for support for the bill. The following day the workers went out onto the streets in protest at this manipulation. The police used extreme violence to repress the demonstration, using automatic weapons and tear gas. A 22-year-old worker, Roshen Chanaka, was killed in the shooting which also left hundreds injured (including 15 police officers). The police then began to harass and intimidate union delegates and workers, by preventing them from leaving their factories for example and by attacking some workers as they left the zone. Women workers were humiliated by the police, and some were even struck with iron bars. Trade union offices were searched by the police, without a warrant. The police finally handed over security in the zone to the army. The head of the Sri Lankan police force resigned following this repression and two police officers were arrested. In the end the bill was withdrawn by the government.

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