Trade unions affiliated to Sri Lanka's opposition took to the streets, demanding a salary increase, an official said on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters representing trade unions affiliated to the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), gathered in downtown Colombo.
They were demanding an increase of 10,000 rupees (78 U.S. dollars) in salaries for all 1.3 million of Sri Lanka's public workers in the government's budget presentation on Friday.
Carrying placards and shouting slogans, the protesters asked the government to grant a pay hike in the budget instead of providing piecemeal allowances which, they say, would be taken away by the government later.
Wasantha Samarasinghe, chairman of the opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party, said the working masses cannot be fooled by the budget.
"This government should be ready to go home at the next presidential election if the workers' demands are not heeded," he told the rally.
The protests by trade unions have been seen by political analysts as an attempt to ramp up anti-government sentiments among the public ahead of possible presidential elections in January.
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reduced fuel, gas and electricity costs over the last few weeks and hinted at other relief measures ahead of his government's budget on Friday.