More photos at the Daily Mirror
Aside from what’s in the budget, what happened outside was retarded. The UNP childishly held posters and yelled, and the UPFA thuggishly assaulted them. The whole thing was a farce, and DBS Jeyaraj has a blow-by-blow. Some highlights:
The Poster Campaign
The Govt received intelligence reports that the UNP planned to stage demonstrations brandishing placards and posters with slogans against the President during Parliamentary proceedings. The Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was informed.
The Police following orders conducted a search and then wanted to go into the Opposition leaders office for an intensive search. UNP parliamentarians vehemently protested at this breach of Parliamentary etiquette and stopped it.
As the speech progressed opposition MP’s began interrupting heckling and booing.. Govt MP’s began retorting. The President also made a few remarks and continued reading the speech.
At one stage some of the UNP MP’s raised placards and posters with the slogan “Budget or Bucket” and “Shame” written in Sinhala,Tamil ad English. Many of these posters were improvised ones with “Shame” being written on A-4 size paper.
This led to much shouting and cross talk between UNP and UPFA Parliamentarians. At one point President Rajapaksa lost his cool and told Dr.Jayalath Jayewardena that he would dissolve Parliament if necessary to teach opposition MP’s a lesson.”only God can save you all then” he stated.
Unfazed the UNP Parliamentarians continued to wave their posters and handle-less placards .They also shouted “shame, shame” and “bucket budget” loudly.
Then The Fighting
It was then that Lohan Ratwatte ,UPFA Kandy district MP and son of former cabinet minister Anuruddha Ratwatte went up to UNP’s chief whip John Amaratunga and snatched away the poster in his hands…
But when Roshan Ranasinghe walked back triumphantly he found his way blocked by the UNP’s “fiery particle” from Badulla district Harin Fernando. Both came to blows after a heated inter-play of words.
The floodgates were now open and a number of MP’s from the Govt side got up from the back rows and moved up to the front to join in the fracas.These included some backbenchers and a few holding ministerial and deputy ministerial portfolios.
The Govt Parliamentarian combatants were led by Gampaha district MP and minister of Public relations and Public affairs “Doctor”Mervyn Silva. True to form the self-styled descendant of Dutugemuu fearlessly led his knights at arms into the foray asking and giving no quarter…
One book landed right in front of UNP senior deputy leader and Gampaha district MP Karu Jayasuriya. A water bottle hit the leg of opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Excelling in this type of sport was the UPFA’s 74 year old national list MP Kamala Ranathunga whose unerring markswomanship in striking bulls-eye was astoundingly remarkable…
Some of the woman MP’s in UNP ranks like Rosy Senanayake and Anoma Gamage also found themselves targets of sorts and had hands tugging at their sarees.
And then the UNP side walked out. I think both sides behaved appallingly for Parliamentarians, or even school children. The UNP should have some basic respect when someone is talking, and the self-respect to actually oppose and change a budget rather than just holding up signs and heckling. The UPFA should be even more ashamed that they rose to such meagre bait and physically attacked them, embarrassing the government and the country at large.
Please read the whole DBS article, it’s quite entertaining