04/01/2019, 16.04
SRI LANKA
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At anti-drugs march, Card Ranjith stresses duty to protect our children

by Melani Manel Perera

Archbishop of Colombo yesterday led a protest in the streets of Colombo. President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wikcremasinghe stood with him on stage. For some believers, the death penalty for drug dealers is not the best solution.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - It is "our duty to support the president in an effort to protect our children from the danger of drugs,” said Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, at anti-drug rally he promoted.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wikcremasinghe were at his side on the stage in Vystwyke Park in Kotahena (Colombo).

Recently, President Sirisena launched a campaign against drug trafficking, reintroducing the death penalty for crimes related to it. Yesterday he said that he had set a date for the resumption of hangings.

Dozens of Catholics and Buddhists as well as local clergy took part in the rally. Many expressed their support for the march ‘Say no to drugs" in Sri Lanka.

Catholics organised three processions from as many parishes that ended in the park. The parishes are: St Anthony in Kocchchikade, St Joseph in Grandpass and St Mary in Wattala.

At the end of Sunday Mass, participants – including children studying the catechism – raised placards and banners, marching in silence against growing drug use.

"If we do not act immediately, the drug threat will enter our economic system,’ Card Ranjith warned.

Prime Minister Wikcremasinghe went further: "We need help from neighbouring countries. We cannot do this alone."

Some parishioners from the Church of St Anne in Estrada talked to AsiaNews, noting that "all religious leaders should oppose the drug trade". At the same time, they stress, "it is not suitable to implement the death penalty".

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