Sri Lanka’s military raids protest camp outside president’s office

Sri Lanka troops pull down tents, screen grab via BBC footage.

Ever since Sri Lanka descended into chaos, protesters have been camping outside of the presidential office in Colombo. But police and military aren’t having it, and today, they pulled down tents and arrested protesters. A police spokesperson confirmed that nine men were arrested, and would appear in court today.

Following the raid, the area around the office has been calm, however, there are still many troops and police around the main protest site, according to CNN. All roads and lanes leading to the area had been cordoned off. Forces are now guarding the entrance to the Presidential Secretariat, and appear to have full control over the building. They have also taken down banners that the protesters had put up.

Now, human rights groups are sounding the alarm about the raid. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka called it a “brutal and despicable attack on peaceful protesters.” The Bar Association of Sri Lanka also condemned the raid. The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, has called on Sri Lankan authorities to use restraint, and give medical help to injured protesters.

This news comes after Sri Lanka’s parliament voted this week for its former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to be the country’s new president. Some protesters have vowed to keep up the fight and view Ranil as part of the same regime as that of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Demonstrators have said that both men are “corrupt” and “self-serving.”

Sri Lanka plunged into chaos in April, after the country experienced a 13 hour power blackout, its longest blackout ever recorded. Since then, the country has been unable to pay for fuel, medicine, and other necessary items.


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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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