October 5, 2022

Sri Lanka: Military rescues PM Rajapaksa as violent clashes leave seven dead

4 min read

A senior security source told CNN that the army was called to the prime minister’s Temple Tree compound after protesters tried to storm his private residence twice overnight.

According to sources, the assailants managed to “enter the outer circle” of the residence where they hurled petrol bombs, but their attempt to enter the building failed when the army fired tear gas, sources said. ۔

A police officer involved in the clashes was killed on the spot by a tear gas canister, the security official confirmed, adding that Prime Minister Raja Pakse and his family had been taken to an unknown location since then. Is.

The scenes follow an evening of violent clashes in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, on Monday, during which police say at least seven people were killed, although it is unclear whether all of the killings were directly linked to the protests. Was

Local health officials said 217 people were injured in the clashes.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday evening, shortly after a nationwide curfew was imposed. The curfew was imposed after live television showed footage of pro-government protesters, armed with sticks, beating protesters in several places across the capital, including Gall Face Green Park, and tearing down their tents. ۔ According to eyewitnesses, speaking to CNN, dozens of homes across the country were set on fire during the violence.

The park has become a focal point for protesters who have been protesting for weeks against the government’s alleged misconduct. Economic crisis Due to which the prices of daily necessities have gone up and there is severe shortage of electricity.

According to the CNN team, armed forces were deployed on the ground, while video footage showed police firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

“We are helpless now, we are begging for help,” the anti-government protesters told Reuters, as black smoke billowed from a nearby burning tent and parts of the protest camp were in disarray.

Police in Colombo are involved in a riot police protest.

Police also accused the protesters of torture, saying they attacked the buses carrying local personnel to Colombo to meet the Prime Minister.

Following the chaos, the government imposed a nationwide curfew, and the 76-year-old prime minister resigned shortly thereafter. “Several stakeholders have indicated that the best solution to the current crisis is to form an interim all-party government,” he said.

Therefore, I have resigned so that further steps can be taken in accordance with the Constitution.

However, it is unclear whether the curfew and his resignation will be enough to cover up the growing instability in the 22 million-strong country.

Many protesters say their ultimate goal is to force President Gotabaya Raja Pakse – the prime minister’s brother – to resign, something he has so far shown no signs of doing.

The president condemned the violence in a post on Twitter, but declined to comment.

“(I) strongly condemn the acts of incitement and violence perpetrated by the participants, regardless of their political affiliation,” he wrote. “Violence will not solve the current problems.”

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said the use of violence by government supporters “has led to a dangerous increase, increasing the risk of further deadly violence and other abuses.”

Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch’s South Asia director, called on the government to “uphold the right to peaceful protest.”

“It is crucial for the security forces to fully respect the right to peaceful assembly, and to hold those responsible for the violence accountable,” Ganguly said.

Mobile phone lights and catheter reuse surgery: Sri Lanka's economic woes push hospitals to the brink of disaster

For weeks, Sri Lanka has been battling its worst economic crisis since independence from the peninsula in 1948, with shortages of food, fuel, gas and medicine, and skyrocketing commodity prices.

Shops in the country have been forced to close because they cannot operate refrigerators, air conditioners or fans, and soldiers have been deployed at gas stations to calm customers who have been forced to heat their tanks to fill their tanks. I have to line up for hours. Some died waiting.

Protesters in Colombo first took to the streets at the end of March, demanding action and accountability from the government. The government recently fell into disarray when ministers resigned en masse.

Last Friday, President Raja Pakse declared a state of emergency following clashes near the country’s parliament, but public anger continues to mount.

The Raja Pakse family has dominated Sri Lankan politics for two decades. The resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has come at a time when many other members of the family who had previously held cabinet posts have also been forced to resign.

President Gotabaya is the only member of the Raja Pakse family still in power.

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