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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka police accused of assaulting protestor outside prime minister’s residence

Protestors at Mynagogama

ECONOMYNEXT – A protestor at Sri Lanka’s newly-christened Mynagogama protest site outside Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official residence Temple Trees was assaulted by a police officer Friday (29) morning, eyewitnesses claimed.

Lawyers and other protestors gathered outside Temple Trees told EconomyNext that a police officer with no badges on his uniform and assaulted one of the protestors, injuring him. The injured protestor has been admitted to the accident ward of the Colombo National Hospital.

The police media division when contacted denied any knowledge of the incident. However, the privately-run The Morning reported quoting Police Spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa that the police had acted in self defence as the injured protestor had obstructed them when they were trying to remove a flyer posted on a police vehicle.

Witnesses claimed that they had been protesting peacefully when the assault occurred.

“We were protesting peacefully. We agreed to everything they had specified about protesting peacefully,” one protestor said.

Mynagogama, or Myna Go Gama, is a protest site similar to the Occupy Wall Street-style Gota Go Gama site outside the presidential secretariat about a kilometre away by the Galle Face Green demanding the resignation of the president. Myna is a recently established nickname for Prime Minister Rajapaksa. The site, set up right outside the Galle Road entrance of Temple Trees, has seen protestors demand the resignation of the prime minister along with the government.

The new site was opened after police failed to obtain a court order preventing its establishment. A number of luxury hotels and embassies exist on this particular stretch of road. Earlier this week, police had parked four buses and a truck to prevent protesters sitting on the pavement by Temple Trees. Some of the protestors had stuck their anti-Rajapaksa placards on the buses parked nearby.

“Because of all these these police buses and trucks on the pavement, we have to gather at a small area. This morning, as we were protesting, a senior police officer came at around 9.30am and suddenly started tearing the placards on the buses and started making a scene,” said one witness.

“He hit one of hit one of the protestors who is now in hospital. This police officer had no visible badges or a name tag on his uniform.

“After that we sat on the road, but we realised it is our people who would get affected by that. We only ask the police to remove these vehicles to continue our protest peacefully,” he said.

Mynagogama has been attracting crowds over the past few days, but many protesters said they found it difficult to voice their demands because of loud Buddhist pirith chanting coming out of the PM’s residence. The chanting was drowning out the protestors’ voices to the point even their comments to the media were barely audible.

Lawyer Namal Rajapaksha (no relation of the ruling family) told EconomyNext that Temple Trees had violated three laws.

“One is this pavement being blocked by police vehicles. They’re also using audio equipment 24 hours a day which is against the law. According to the law, loudspeakers can be use by a residence only until 10pm. If the prime minister’s residence wants to continue using them, they need special permission from the police.

“When asked, Kollupitiya police said they had not issued a license for this loudspeaker use.

“The third violation is that a deputy inspector general (DIG) has has forcibly taken the protestors’ hut” he said.

A complaint  had been made 48 hours prior to Friday’s incident about the police vehicles parked on the pavement outside Temple Trees but to no avail, said the lawyer.

“They said fax messages had been sent to the relevant officials. We ask them to free these pavements for public use,” said Rajapaksha.

“We ask them not to disrupt this peaceful protest in any way and if they do, as lawyers we will take action against them. If the Kollupitiya police let these unlawful actions continue and do not act on our complaints, we will bring the protest right to the door of the police station, he said.

The senior police officer accused of the assault must apologise publicly, he added. (Colombo/Apr29/2022)

Comments (1)

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  1. emily says:

    jail the police fo life not fit to be a police officer
    who geve the order
    may be mahinda behind

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  1. emily says:

    jail the police fo life not fit to be a police officer
    who geve the order
    may be mahinda behind

Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Monday (05), continuing the positive run for seven straight sessions on news over a possible debt restructuring from Paris Club, analysts said.

All Share Price Index gained by 0.69% or 60.10 points to 8,829, while the most liquid shares gained by 0.96% or 26.59 points to 2,801.

“The market was pushed up over the news of a potential 10 year debt moratorium,” analysts said.

The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis. 

Related – Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium in 15-year Sri Lanka debt re-structure: report

The market generated a revenue of 2.1 billion rupees.

Top gainers during 1130 hours were Expolanka, Browns Investment and LOLC.  (Colombo/Dec05/2022)


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Sri Lanka bond yields slightly down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were slightly down at open on Monday while t- bills were inactive, dealers said.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar, appreciated from 363.19 rupees on Friday.

“Only one bond is being quoted today, and the rest remaining unquoted” a dealer said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 quoted at 29.30/30.00 percent down from 29.50/75 percent at Friday’s close.(Colombo/ Dec 03/2022)

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Sri Lanka should prioritize RCEP , not small FTAs: economist

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) a priority instead of trying to negotiate multiple smaller deals, an economist has said.

“We do not have the bandwidth in government and the technical resources to do multiple trade agreements,” Anushka Wijesinghe an economist who has been involved in trade told a business forum in Colombo.

“I think RCEP should be number one priority, rather than three or four tiny bilateral goods agreements.”

Sri Lanka is trying negotiate a free trade deal with China and expand an existing one with India.

Data show that Sri Lanka has been able to boost exports with FTAs.

Sri Lanka has high tariff protection which ultimately backfire.

Sri Lanka has protectionist business interests their profits from overpriced goods have had priority over ordinary consumers and overall economic efficiency that comes from free trade.

Sri Lanka also has monetary instability, which has worsened under flexible inflation targeting, with a series of currency crises coming in rapid successions.

Forex shortages from mis-targeted interest rates under flexible or discretionary monetary policies have discredited free trade and liberalization in general and strengthened the hands of economic nationalists, analysts say.

The country also has monetary instability, which makes life difficult not only for investors but all economic agents.

Over the past two decades Sri Lanka’s exports have not grown as much as competitors. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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