Sri Lanka crisis updates | May 10, 2022

Security personnel walk past a burned vehicle near Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, a day after they were torched by protesters in Colombo on May 10, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka on Tuesday ordered its troops to shoot anyone looting public property or causing harm to life, the country’s Defence Ministry said.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged people to stop “violence and acts of revenge” against fellow citizens as the country continues to battle its worst-ever economic crisis.

“I appeal and urge people to remain calm & stop violence & acts of revenge against citizens, irrespective of political affiliations. All efforts will be made to restore political stability through consensus, within constitutional mandate & to resolve economic crisis,” the President tweeted.

Around 250 people have been injured in violence and eight were killed as supporters of the Rajapaksa family clashed with anti-government protestors in Sri Lanka. 

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, resigned as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on May 9 amid unprecedented economic turmoil, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protestors, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy Army troops in the capital.

Mr. Rajapaksa is facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protestors.

Sri Lanka

Mahinda Rajapaksa will not flee Sri Lanka, says son

Mahinda Rajapaksa — who resigned as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters and sparked a day of violence — will not flee the country, his son said on Tuesday.

The 76-year-old heads a political clan whose hold on power has been shaken by months of blackouts and shortages in the island nation, which is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

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United Nations

UN condemns escalating violence in Sri Lanka

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday condemned the escalating violence in Sri Lanka amid the severe economic and political crisis and urged the authorities to prevent further unrest.

Ms. Bachelet urged restraint and meaningful dialogue to address the grievances of the population, after deadly clashes in the worst violence in weeks of protests.

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Sri Lanka

China infra projects in focus as crisis worsens in Sri Lanka

An airport without planes, a revolving restaurant with no diners, a debt-laden seaport — Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has been exacerbated by Chinese-funded projects that stand as neglected monuments to government extravagance.

The South Asian island nation borrowed heavily to plug years of budget shortfalls and trade deficits, but squandered huge sums on ill-considered infrastructure projects that have further drained public finances.

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s CID to probe violence targeting anti-govt protesters

The Sri Lanka Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been tasked with probing the concerted attack on anti-government protesters, police said on Tuesday, a day after a pro-Rajapaksa mob went on a rampage at agitation sites in capital Colombo and in central Kandy district.

The death toll in the attacks, which the protesters accused the police of “simply watching”, rose to eight on Tuesday. Nearly 220 persons were hospitalised after suffering injuries in the brutal assault, and in the targeted, violent retaliation by incensed citizens. Dozens of houses belonging to Ministers and Members of Parliament, including the Rajapaksas’ ancestral village home, were torched.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), a professional body of lawyers, called for an independent investigation and the immediate arrest of “all persons who instigated, conspired to unleash the violent mob…irrespective of the positions they held in government or of their family connections”. The BASL also sought a travel ban on them.

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China alerts its citizens in Sri Lanka to be on guard against risks

China is closely following the violent events in Sri Lanka, the country said on Tuesday. It has asked Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka to be alert.

Beijing has not yet commented on the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa who played an instrumental role in bringing large-scale Chinese investments to the country. Sri Lanka handed over its Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease.

“Sri Lanka’s police have enforced curfew so far. The Chinese side is closely following the development of the situation. We believe that with the joint efforts of all sectors of Sri Lanka, the country will regain peace and stability as soon as possible,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. — PTI

Defence Ministry

Sri Lankan Armed Forces ordered to open fire at those looting public property or threatening lives

“Security forces have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone looting public property or causing harm to life,” the Defence Ministry said.

The Sri Lankan government has deployed thousands of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel to patrol the streets of Colombo and elsewhere after a day of violence that killed eight and injured more than 200 people.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asks Sri Lankan citizens to stop violence and “acts of revenge” against fellow citizens

President Rajapaksa has also vowed to address the political and economic crisis raging in the nation. A curfew is currently in force across Sri Lanka.

“All efforts will be made to restore political stability through consensus, within constitutional mandate & to resolve economic crisis,” the President said on Twitter.


Protestors set up checkpoints on road leading to Colombo airport

The checkpoints have been set up by anti-government protestors to prevent loyalists of the Rajapaksa family from leaving the country. Widespread violence broke out in Sri Lanka on Monday after supporters of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked anti-government protestors. Mr. Rajapaksa later resigned from his post. — PTI


Speaker asks President to reconvene Parliament this week

Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker on Tuesday requested embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to reconvene the House this week to discuss the current situation amid unprecedented violence and widespread protest against the government over the country’ worst economic crisis in decades.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeyawardena said he had telephoned President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his request.

Parliamentary officials said the President will be required to reconvene Parliament ahead of its scheduled date of May 17 as there is no Prime Minister and government currently.

Trincomalee Naval base

Protests at Lankan naval base housing ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa

A protest began in front of Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Naval Base after reports emerged that former Prime Minister Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and some of his family members were there after leaving the official residence Temple Trees in Colombo, the Daily Mirror newspaper said.

Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Rajapaksa left his official Temple Trees residence early on Tuesday morning even as a mob tried to enter the premises.

Throughout the night on Monday, the police fired teargas shells to quell mobs trying to enter the Temple Trees residence.

Meanwhile, a group of lawyers lodged a complaint with the police headquarters to arrest Mr. Rajapaksa and his colleagues who had allegedly instigated Monday’s violence against peaceful anti-government protestors.

Emergency powers

Sri Lanka gives emergency powers to military, police after clashes kill many

Sri Lanka gave emergency powers on May 10 to its military and police to detain people without a warrant after a day of clashes that killed eight people and injured more than 200, in violence that prompted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign.

As the Indian Ocean nation battles its worst economic crisis in history, thousands of protestors had defied curfew to attack government figures, setting ablaze homes, shops and businesses belonging to ruling party lawmakers and provincial politicians.

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Violence in Sri Lanka

Opposition calls for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s arrest for inciting violence

Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protesters that claimed at least eight lives, left more than 200 people injured and saw arson attacks on the homes of several politicians.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, resigned as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on May 9 amid unprecedented economic turmoil, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy Army troops in the capital.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa vacated the official residence Temple Trees

Meanwhile, Mahinda Rajapaksa vacated the Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister, on May 10 (morning), according to media reports.

The police on Monday used tear gas and fired in the air to stop a mob which was trying to break into Temple Trees, the office-cum-residence of the Prime Minister.

An all-island curfew, which was scheduled to be lifted on Tuesday, was extended last night until Wednesday as arson attacks were reported from most parts of the country.

Army chief General Shavendra Silva called for calm and said the necessary action would be taken to maintain law and order. In the current state of emergency, the troops are given extensive powers to arrest people. The Opposition parties urged the reconvening of the Parliament before the scheduled date of May 17.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also requested the President to immediately summon Parliament. The trade unions announced that they would launch a continuous strike from Tuesday to protest against the government-backed crackdown on the peaceful protests.

The violence occurred as pressure mounted on the embattled government led by President Gotabaya to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.

Sri Lanka violence

Attorney General wants investigation on violence

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General on May 10 asked the police chief to conduct an urgent and full-fledged investigation into the violent clashes between anti- and pro-government protesters.

Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam has advised the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to conduct a full-fledged investigation into the incidents of unlawful interference into the people’s constitutional rights, the circumstances that led to them; and, the consequent commission of penal offences in the process,  News First website reported.

In a letter to the IGP, the Attorney General said as the incident in metropolitan Colombo triggered sporadic acts of violence of serious nature involving people and their property all over the country, the Attorney General advised the police chief to further investigate the aftermath of the incidents, the  News First report said.

He urged the IGP to complete the investigation on an urgent priority basis.

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Printable version | May 11, 2022 4:55:04 am |