Thousands attend May Day rallies in Sri Lanka

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Colombo, May 1 (IANS) Thousands took to the streets in Colombo and Galle city on Sunday to mark May Day, with President Maithripala Sirisena pledging to strengthen Sri Lanka’s position in the Indian Ocean region.

Large crowds flocked to Galle to show their support for Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Xinhua news agency reported.

A colourful procession with dancers and drums was held as crowds made their way to the Samanala Grounds to hear the president’s address.

“As all of you have gathered here, I promise to take this nation forward and make this a competitive country in the South Asian region,” the president said.

“We have already received the support of the international community. I vow to uplift the living standards of the public soon,” Sirisena told the public who had gathered despite heavy rains.

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing a massive crowd in the United National Party’s May Day rally held in Campbell Park in Colombo, said the government was committed in its fight against corruption and vowed to bring down the high cost of living and strengthen the island’s economy.

He said the government would present a new developed nation by 2020 and had already launched a megapolis development programme which would transform the capital and its suburbs.

Wickremesinghe, amidst loud cheers, also said that the mega Colombo Port City project, funded by China, would be an economic hub in the region.

He said the Port City would also attract more investments and strengthen Sri Lanka’s role in the Indian Ocean region.

Over 6,000 police were deployed to manage the rallies that were organised by different political parties which started on Sunday afternoon and continued till late evening.

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