After the Sri Lankan military crackdown on the anti-government protesters, the besieged presidential office reopened on Monday.
The Presidential office building was occupied earlier this month by protesters angered by Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis. At that time, the then President Gotabay Rajapaksa fled the country to the Maldives before flying out to Singapore. Rajapaksa had offered his resignation after fleeing the country.
On Friday, a large military group, along with the police, launched a raid near the Presidential Secretariat and the protest site at Galle Face to clear the area of protesters. Several arrests were made.
The armed soldiers were deployed in a bid to control the protestors who have been protesting against the new Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe outside the premises of the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat. Protesters are alleging that security personnel raided the anti-government protest camp in the capital on early Friday.
Nine people were arrested during which the tents of protestors are being dismantled by the armed security personnel outside the premises of the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Colombo, EU, and Human Rights Commission condemned the actions taken by Sri Lankan authorities against protestors at Galle Face in the middle of the night.
US Ambassador to Colombo Julie Chung on Friday took her Twitter account and asked for restraint by authorities and immediate access to medical attention for those injured.
“Deeply concerned about actions taken against protestors at Galle Face in the middle of the night. We urge restraint by authorities and immediate access to medical attention for those injured,” Ambassador Chung tweeted.
The European Union (EU) has also stressed the importance of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
The military operation began within 24 hours of Wickremesinghe being sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka and just before a new cabinet was appointed.
Wickremesinghe was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka on Thursday in Parliament before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. He was elected as president in an election held in Parliament on Wednesday.
During Wednesday’s vote, Wickremesinghe received 134 votes following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the presidency last week amid severe economic turmoil in the country.
Sri Lanka’s economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 percent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, coupled with a lack of foreign reserves, and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.
Hundreds of Sri Lankans continue to queue up at petrol pumps across the debt-ridden country every day amid fuel shortage, and a large number of people are ditching their cars and motorcycles for bicycles for their daily commute.
The economic crisis which is the worst in Sri Lanka’s history has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like fuel. (ANI)