May Day on Sri Saranankara.
May Day is International Workers Day, which has taken on a distinctly commie tint. In Sri Lanka the JVP traditionally goes all out on my street, but this year I noticed that the government had also bused a lot of people in to have their own demonstrations. I assume they always do that, I just noticed it. JVPers were mocking effigies of Mahinda in Dehiwela and people were wearing ‘Mahinda: Our Hero’ t-shirts near Town Hall. May Day floats are fun and I watched them go down my street. I’m not so happy about the government spending my money to have their own demonstrations, however.
Kid in a float.
The show down Saranankara befouls traffic, but it’s always entertaining. They had a big rally in Cow Patty Park and then proceeded down the street with marching bands, giant ships, kazoos, kids waving flags, people chanting slogans. Some of the ideas are nice, solidarity, unity, and a growing emphasis on Tamil language and issues. Some ideas are less nice, ie, support for the North Korean dictatorship, Iran, Syria.
Mahinda, where are our school uniforms?
I’ve always been struck by how anti-government these casual marches are. Mahinda is pilloried, usually as a stooge to Uncle Sam. I don’t agree with the JVP on too much, but I do agree on some things. They and the TNA are the only parties that actually offer any real opposition to the government anymore, unlike the UNP which has quite literally become the down side of the coin, under Ranil.
Then on the other side of town there’s the government marches. Both block up traffic and stuff, but for me were easy enough to get around. The government demonstrations, however, leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. At a time when government taxes and waste are upping the cost of petrol and transport and everything, they’re using public resources to bus in tons of people to put on a show. It’s a bunch of people in blue shirts and then yellow NFF (Wimal Weerawansa) guys with military security. I mean, it’s our money. It’s not a spontaneous demonstration by workers, it’s the government spending the workers money to prop themselves up. But let’s leave that for another post. Here are some photos of the JVP march today.