Sri Lanka Updates: As its envoy met with newly elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, the US condemned the Sri Lankan security forces’ overnight crackdown on antigovernment protestors and expressed great worry over the needless and deeply disturbing” escalation of violence. Despite President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, protesters continued to occupy the sensitive area. Sri Lankan security forces conducted a raid on the main antigovernment protest camp at the President’s Secretariat, arresting nine people and injuring a number of others.
After Wickremesinghe took office as president last week after Rajapaksa left the nation last week, the decision to evict the antigovernment demonstrators was made the following day.
The demonstrators vowed not to back down in their pursuit of new leadership. According to a statement, US Ambassador Julie Chung told Wickremesinghe that the President and the Cabinet have the “opportunity and an obligation” to respond to Sri Lankans’ calls for a better future. She met with Wickremesinghe to express her grave concern over the needless and deeply troubling escalation of violence against protesters overnight. This is not the moment to crack down on citizens; instead, the government should consider what quick and practical initiatives it can take to win back the public’s trust, restore stability, and revive the economy.
The demonstrators were expelled from the presidential secretariat and the gate they had besieged since April 9 by security personnel in a late-night operation. Two lawyers were allegedly attacked during the raid, according to Sri Lanka’s bar association. It stated that the Colombo Fort magistrate had this evening given bail to nine demonstrators, among them a lawyer, who had been detained by the police during the crackdown at the presidential secretariat. There were many attorneys in the courtroom. After being apprehended on July 9, the demonstrators had already left the President and Prime Minister’s homes as well as the Prime Minister’s office, although they were still occupying a few rooms in the President’s secretariat at the Galle Face. After Wickremesinghe was elected as the nation’s new president by Parliament on Wednesday, the demonstrators returned to Colombo.
They rejected Wickremesinghe, 73, as their new leader and blamed him in part for the nation’s unparalleled political and economic catastrophe. The protesters announced on social media on Thursday that they intended to end their protest by 2 p.m. on Friday. They had been camped out at the Secretariat’s gate since April 9, when they began their antigovernment demonstration that led to Rajapaksa’s resignation as president last week. There was discussion about ending the demonstration and respecting the Constitution, according to a group spokesman. The major protesters, who have been blocking access to the President’s Office since April 9, declared that they will keep fighting until Wickremesinghe resigned.