Colombo: Disabled ex-servicemen joined a
demonstration in Colombo today demanding the release of former
army chief and opposition leader Sarath Fonseka who has been
jailed for 30-months.
War veterans on wheel chairs and crutches joined a
demonstration of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), the
political party of Fonseka, near the Colombo Town Hall.
The group dispersed peacefully after displaying
placards calling for the release of Fonseka whom they
described as a "war hero" for crushing Tamil Tiger rebels in
May last year.
The demonstration was originally due to be held
outside the Welikada prison where Fonseka is incarcerated, but
it was shifted after a pro-government group took up the venue
for another demonstration.
The pro-government group was protesting a prison riot
yesterday when inmates clashed with a raiding police party
which was looking for narcotics inside the main Welikada jail
where Fonseka is also being held.
At least 51 police and prison guards were wounded, but
officials said Fonseka`s cell was unaffected.
Fonseka began his 30-month prison sentence on
September 30 after a military court declared him guilty of
making irregular procurements while he headed the Army.
Fonseka says the government is seeking revenge for his
decision to stand against the president Mahinda Rajapakse
at January polls.
The former Army chief was stripped of his rank and
pension after another court martial found him guilty in August
of engaging in politics while in uniform.