Colombo, Feb 4 (IANS) As Sri Lanka celebrated its 72nd Independence Day on Tuesday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured the protection of democracy in the island nation, including freedom of expression.
Addressing the nation from the Independence Square in Colombo, Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka was a united country in which there will be freedom of expression, including for the media, reports the Colombo Gazette newspaper.
The President said that his government will not suppress opposition voices or interfere in the judiciary.
He also noted that social media was being misused to spread misinformation and urged the public to think twice before posting anything on online.
The theme of this year’s Independence Day ceremony is “A Secured Nation – A Prosperous Country”, said the Colombo Page newspaper.
Before addressing the nation, Rajapaksa hoisted the national flag at the Independence Square, which was built to commemorate Sri Lanka’s freedom from the British rule on February 4, 1948.
A two-minute silence was also to commemorate the Sri Lankans who had sacrificed their lives for the country.
The Independence Parade following the President’s address featured the tri forces and cultural performances by students and civil organizations.
The tri-forces parade consisted of 3,376 Sri Lanka Army, 799 Navy, 847 Air Force, 596 Sri Lanka Police, 327 Special Task Force and 385 Civil Defense Force personnel.
In addition, 252 National Cadet Corps, 475 Cultural and Dancers also joined the parade.