ECONOMYNEXT- A prominent Sri Lankan protester has been arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division after a number of arrests have been made over illegally entering public properties during the July 9 protest which led former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and amid fears of a similar protest on August 9.
A social activist and Youtuber Rathindu Senaratne commonly known as “Ratta” was arrested on Monday (01) for violating the law and breaching a court order during a protest held on a main road in front of the island nation’s World Trade Center on 21 May, which was held against the government’s mismanagement.
Ratta was arrested while he had voluntarily appeared to produce a statement on behalf of the arrest of another protest leader Pathum Kerner, who was also arrested for breaching police barriers near a parliament junction.
The series of arrests come after protesters have planned another massive protest on August 9 similar to the one that forced former president Rajapaksa to flee the country fearing for his life. The planned protest on August 9 is to force President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who succeed Rajapaksa through a parliament vote, to resign.
Wickremesinghe has been tough of protesters, some activists say and he has repeatedly said nobody can burn houses of people in the name of protest.
Wickremesinghe on July 18 has declared state of emergency which gives wide powers for police to arrest people.
A day after Wickremesinghe took over as the president on July 21, the military attacked and evicted the protesters inside and near the presidential secretariat which was occupied by the agitators from July 9.
The number of protesters near the presidential secretariat also has declined sharply amid series of arrests and some protesters withdrawing from the agitation which has been taking place since April 9. They have been demanding former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign and all Rajapaksa family members to leave from the key governmental positions.
The protesters have said the day 9th of the each month has been a lucky day for them after former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign on May 9, his brother an former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa resigned on June 9 and ex-president Gotabaya Rajapapksa fled the presidential palace on July 9 before fleeing the country and resigning from Singapore via an email.
The July 9 protest saw at least 200,000 people joining the key protesters near the presidential secretariat. They stormed into the presidential palace, presidential secretariat, prime minister’s official residence, and burnt then prime minister Wickremesinghe’s private residence. The police has been now investigating into the incidence.
Government officials have said Wickremesinghe administration has been fearing of August 9 protest. (Colombo/Aug 02/2022)