FOR most Australians, knowledge of the country of Sri Lanka would not extend far beyond the performance of its cricket team.
Few would be aware of the corruption and human rights abuse that is rife in the island country.
Few would know that as recently as the weekend, the nation’s chief justice was impeached, a move seen by rights activists as another step towards the government edging closer to being a dictatorship.
But lack of knowledge about Sri Lanka is something that a protest group in Ballarat tried to change on Saturday.
The Boycott Sri Lanka Cricket Campaign, led by former leading sport journalist Trevor Grant, hit Ballarat as part of a nationwide tour.
The protests have previously been held in Sydney and Melbourne, and on Saturday was on its way to Adelaide to protest at yesterday’s one-day international between Australia and Sri Lanka.
About 20 people formed the protest in the Bridge Mall on Saturday, with about 100 expected to join the group by the time it hit Adelaide.
Mr Grant said the Sri Lankan government often used the cricket team as a political tool to disguise the unrest back home.
“It uses the cricket team to propagate its image. So we’re calling for Cricket Australia to halt all matches against Sri Lanka,” he said.
At the Bridge Mall on Saturday, the group handed out fliers and brought the issue to the attention of shoppers.
“I think we got the message across pretty well,” said Mr Grant.
The protest group also stopped in Horsham and Bordertown.