ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will weed out any unlawful protest movements such as the Aragalaya (anti-government protests) using the state forces and the Emergency Law while others can demonstrate after obtaining permission from police, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the parliament.
President Wickremesinghe said he will not give space for movement such as “Aragalaya” a protest early this year that forced to overthrow the government led by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“There are plans to initiate another Aragalaya to change the government. But I won’t give space for that. I will get the military and the forces and I will impose State of Emergency,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament on Wednesday (23).
“Anyone has the freedom to protest. But, go to the Police and take the permission and then walk on the roads, shout I am a dictator or I am like Hitler, but just take permission and don’t obstruct traffic,” he said.
From March, Sri Lanka saw a string of anti-government protests that grew into a nationwide protest. It resulted in ouster of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and subsequently stepping down paving the way for Wickremesinghe to become the President.
He said a committee will be established to investigate the motive behind the protest and the perpetrators of violence during the protests.
Protests became violent on May 9 after former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters attacked unarmed and peaceful protesters in Colombo. The violence killed at least eight people and left 65 houses belonging to 38 politicians from then ruling nationalist Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) damaged, while 88 vehicles were damaged, Police data showed.
Wickremsinghe’s house was also burnt on July 9.
He added that although Aragalaya members protested and shouted everyday, they have no one behind them now and that some media also had a hand in the demonstrations.
He said all of them will be investigated. (Colombo/Nov23/2022)