The fisher people who depend on Negombo Lagoon had staged forceful protest on Negombo Lagoon against the Sea plane project being implemented . Thousands of boats, canoes gathered to Lagoon with more than 4000 fisher people vehemently protested against the Seaplanes to Negombo lagoon today.
While protestors were stage their protest on the Lagoon, the ground Navy staff members tried their best to make the protest a peaceful one and avoid any confrontation. At the same time they were trying with their senior staff to contact any authorities concerned through them.
Finally, Navy staff could contact Gotabaya Rajapakse, the defense secretary of Sri Lanka, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksha and were able to convey the message through a progressive catholic priest who was with the protestors.
Gota Said, “We will continue the Seaplane project at any cost. Disperse from the site immediately, unless face the consequences. I have given the orders to Navy.” talking over the phone to one of the priests was with fishers as well as asking him to move all the protestors from the lagoon.
But, people said, “We never leave without removing the Barge and dredging machines and halt the digging operations at Lagoon.”
“You, catholic priests are the responsible to bring the fisher people to agitations. We will continue this project at any cost. You need to disperse from this site immediately. We have given the orders to Navy to put the force and disperse people. Unless you disperse immediately, face the consequences.”
This is the response from the authorities. And the whole gathering did not want to disperse with out having any practical solution.
While the fishermen are protesting at the lagoon, the women representing Negombo Sri Wimukthi Fisher Women Oraganization , a partner organization of National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) and their families were at the Katunayake junction, protesting at the Negombo-Colombo high way in solidarity with the fishermen. So, the whole group around fisher folk blocked the road and continued their protest till evening.
After 7 hours of protest, a representative of Navy commander, an Admiral approached the leaders of the Alliance for Protection of Negombo Lagoon and conveyed that the fisher people’s demands are met.
• Dismantle the system and Remove the Barge from the lagoon.
• Stop immediately the excavations of lagoon bank for construction of platforms.
• A discussion on permanent halt the Seaplane project with the top most politician or President Mahinda Rajapakse.
So, people went back to the Lagoon and stayed till late evening around 7.30 pm until the Barge and other equipments to remove from the Lagoon. This is a grate victory of the Negombo Fisher People with the interventions of Alliance for Protection of Negombo Lagoon.
One of the conveners' of the APNL said, "It is very clear the genuine demand of the fisher people. They do not want Seaplane to come to Negombo lagoon.
This is a temporary victory again, we will never give up till we find a permanent solution for the issue."