Democracy Protests against Propose of Constitutional Reform


by NTDTelevision

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Elsewhere in Asia, democracy is not working as smoothly. The president of Sri Lanka has proposed a constitutional amendment that would give him sweeping powers. Protestors in the capital city of Colombo held a mock funeral this past week to symbolize the death of democracy.

Hundreds of protesters take to the streets in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo.

Supporters of the main opposition United National party - or UNP - hold a mock funeral procession.

They carry an effigy of the president, and a coffin symbolizing the 'death of democracy'.

The crowds rally against the proposed changes in the law which would lift a two-term restriction on the presidency and give further powers to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The amendment would allow Rajapaksa to contest another term and replace a ten-member constitutional council with a five-member panel that has no veto power and only two opposition members.

"This amendment is against the constitution, against the standing orders, against the wishes of the people and is against democracy. Therefore we will take steps to re-establish democracy in this country and give the power of the vote back to the people."

Critics accuse Rajapaksa of stifling dissent, jailing opposition, showing scant respect for rule of law, and of reneging on a pledge to cut presidential powers.

Analysts have also blamed the constitution for contributing to insurrections in the island nation, by failing to address the rights of the poor and minorities.

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