Participants at a peaceful march organised by Free Women, a leftist women’s movement in a struggle to achieve women’s freedom were attacked by the Police on March 8, International Women’s Day.
“We organised a peaceful march addressing a range of issues including foreign employment crisis, lack of job security for women, microfinance issue, payment of basic wages for estate workers among others,” opined Hemamali Abeyrathne, Free Women National Organiser. “When prices of essential items are increased, it’s the women who suffer. Mothers have to face new challenges when preparing their children for online classes. With all these issues we continue to ‘celebrate’ women’s day,” added Abeyrathne.
"The attack on members of Free Women is enough proof of how men are using their masculinity to dominate women"
“But we wanted to remind people that there are issues that have to be addressed. When we were peacefully marching forward, the Police stood in our way and manhandled most of our sisters. My question is that even with so many women police officers, they had to send the men for the task. They were following orders from the political hierarchy but that will not stop us from taking our mission forward.”
“This attack is not an attack for Free Women but an attack to all women. One day their wives, daughters, female colleagues, sisters will face a similar situation. This incident is enough proof of how men are using their masculinity to dominate women. Women are re-victimised in society as a result of men and their macho ways. We vehemently condemn the attack and will be filing a complaint at the Police Women and Children’s desk today,” she added.
Police attacking female participants at the protest march near Galle Face