The Parliament sittings has been suspended for five minutes after UNP MPs staged a protest holding candles against the electricity tariff hike announced by the government.
During the debate on four Bills in the House, the UNP members, after thespeech of their colleague P. Harisson, rushed to the Well of the House with candles in their hands, and started protesting against the recent electricity tariff hike. It disrupted the day’s proceedings, and eventually, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody who was in the Chair, suspended sittings. Yet, the noisy UNP legislators including seniors such as John Amaratunga, Ravi Karunanayake and Lakshman Kiriella persisted with their candle light protest.
Lohan Ratwatte, ruling party member of the Kandy district, was the first to confront the protesting MPs by throwing bottles of water at them. As he threw two bottles, UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake met head on with MP Ratwatte when he attempted to fling yet another bottle of water into the Well of the House. They were about to trade blows when both of them were pushed aside to by members of either side of the House to prevent possible untoward incidents. The UNP seniors made much effort to stop Mr. Ramanayake from assaulting Mr. Ratwatte. On one occasion, Mr. Ramanayake even used unparliamentary language in his anger over the situation.
Along with Minister Basil Rajapaksa, a number of government members trooped into the Well of the House and some others remained in the aisles. There were confrontations between the members of either side. On one occasion, Government MP Manusha Nananayakkara tried to exchange fisticuffs with UNP MP Ajith Perera. Also, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa and Private Bus Transport Minister C.B. Ratnayake almost traded blows. (YP, KB)