Lankan activists barred from holding protest outside Chinese embassy over COVID-19

Colombo, Jun 10 (PTI) A group of activists in Sri Lanka were barred from holding a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy here to protest China's 'inaction' to prevent the global spread of the coronavirus.

The National Movement for Protection of Consumer Rights said they were to hold demonstration against China outside the embassy here, but police asked them not to go ahead following a court order.

The coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city late last year, has infected 7.2 million people worldwide and killed at least 4,11,000, according to official figures tallied by Johns Hopkins University.

'Tuesday night, the police came to my residence and told me not to go ahead with the protest as they have obtained a court order against our protest,' Ranjith Withanage of the organisation said.

'The whole world has suffered from the coronavirus. Thousands have died while millions have got infected. Sri Lanka is over 4000 kms away from Wuhan and the US is over 11000 kms away.

'The question we ask is Beijing is only 1100 kms away from Wuhan. But Beijing was not affected. The whole world knows China has misled the WHO on the coronavirus. China must be held responsible for the pandemic,' Withanage said.

Withanage said he would pursue legal action against the decision taken by the authorities to block the protest.

China is facing criticism over COVID-19 crisis and Beijing has been accused of using its 'propaganda' to hush-up coronavirus cases.

China is accused of delayed action resulting in the pandemic spreading to other countries, an allegation Beijing vehemently refuted asserting that it was working with the international community in an 'open and highly responsible manner' to contain the global crisis. PTI CORR PMS PMS