Five star comfort for Janabalaya leaders? | Sunday Observer

Five star comfort for Janabalaya leaders?

MP Namal Rajapaksa seen at the Hilton Colombo on Tuesday (4) evening, the night before his janabalaya rally in Colombo. His brother Yoshitha was spotted at the same hotel last afternoon
MP Namal Rajapaksa seen at the Hilton Colombo on Tuesday (4) evening, the night before his janabalaya rally in Colombo. His brother Yoshitha was spotted at the same hotel last afternoon

Janabalaya Rally of the JO on September 5 was meant to be an overnight protest. Colombo was to be under siege with the protestors expected to stage a satyagraha till early hours of the next day. That was the warning issued by the Joint Opposition. Colombo Municipal Councillor of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Milinda Rajapaksa claimed on twitter that everything had been prepared for an expected crowd of 500 000. However, no such facilities appeared to have been made as the night approached.

With the crowds being left without proper instructions and necessary facilities to spend the night many decided to head home. For the remainder who joined the Satyagraha at Lotus roundabout a small truck went around the area distributing packets of sandwiches around 8.30 pm causing a near stampede as the majority had been without food and drink since the start of the protest.

However, many protests were seen discarding half eaten bread for reasons unknown. With excess food remaining some tried to hail down vehicles in a bid to distribute the leftovers. With the food provided perhaps being inedible, many were seen spending out of their own pockets to purchase food and drink from the vendors walking among the crowds. With their stomachs half full, some settled in for the night laying out placards they carried earlier on the day in the street to get some sleep. Those awake were entertained by an Angampora troupe and Devil Dancers. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also arrived briefly on the scene and despite claims he would remain there all night he eventually left after giving a brief speech that lasted about 3 minutes.

But while the supporters were left on the street reports came trickling in that that SLPP leaders had booked rooms at several five star hotels in the vicinity including the Hilton Colombo, Taj Colombo and Shangri-La earning the ire of their supporters. Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara told a press briefing at the Government Information Department held later that night that a Suite of the Taj Colombo had been booked, while other sources confirmed that presidential suite had been booked for JO and SLPP MPs.

Namal Rajapaksa was also spotted at the Hilton Colombo on Tuesday (4), the night before the Janabalaya demonstration, while his brother Yoshitha Rajapaksa was spotted in the Hilton lobby on the afternoon of the Rally, enjoying a beer with businessman Nimal Perera and Gamini Abeyratne, aka, ‘Taxi Abey’ before joining the demonstration.

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