Do not go out on May Day, seriously. Unless you like to watch large crowds of dehydrated, sweating, yelling people, or like to catch up on your reading in your car, in the sun, on the street.
I do not remember May Days being this crowded in the past. Bus loads of people came into Colombo just to take part in the rallies, and 10,000 policemen were deployed to keep the peace. I had assumed that May Day was labour day and all about the worker. But what I saw was a lot of political bickering, a lot of anger, and a lot of hate directed towards the international community. I didn’t hear much about local working conditions, the prices rising, the economic situation, or anything local. It could have just been the rally that I saw though.
The placards and signs they were holding up were mostly about the US and how they should leave Syria and Iran alone. (I didn’t know we were best buddies with them) Also were placards about how Sri Lanka rejects the UN resolutions, and ‘Banki and Obama’.
The float in the picture above had a bed on in covered with a sheet, with two people in scrubs surrounding it. The ‘doctors’ had a sign on their back saying NGO and under the sheet I saw what looked like a tiger skin. I suppose it meant that the NGOs were trying to revive the LTTE?
Another section of the rally (which I couldn’t take a picture of) had a man in a blazer and a pair of shorts with a mask of Obama on his head. He was being herded by two men holding spears and dressed in black. Their costumes looked remarkably like that used by the KKK, but in black. I am not sure that was intended, but then again, who knows.
It’s a masterful move by the government, directing anger towards people outside the country and towards NGO. Now the war is over, we don’t have anyone to fight and we have time to look at the mess in our own country. But what’s being said is, “look, America is trying to get us, the UN is trying to get us, unite!” and so we start yelling like a bunch of scared kids not looking at the mess in our own backyard.
But as they say, “Wot to do, child?”