ECONOMYNEXT – Protestors “illegally” occupying Sri Lanka’s Galle Face green and adjacent premises have been given time till 5pm Friday August 05 to vacate the area, police said.
In a public service announcement broadcast at Galle Face Wednesday August 03 evening, the Fort Police in Colombo announced the decision, noting that all illegal structures and makeshift cultivation sites on land belonging to the government or to the Urban Development Authority (UDA) must be removed before the Friday deadline.
The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Fort Police has said in the statement that the law of the land must be followed without harassing the public.
Legal action will be taken against those who do not comply with the request, he said.
Sri Lanka’s protestors have been camping out by the Presidential Secretariat near Galle Face since April, demanding the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The protest site, referred to as GotaGoGama (Gota Go Village), saw Sri Lankans of various social, political, economic and ideological backgrounds come together to agitate againat Rajapaksa and his government over what has become the country’s worst economic crisis since Independence.
However, Sri Lanka’s new President Ranil Wickremasinghe and others in the government say the protest movement, which was organic at the start, has now been hijacked by subversive or anarchic elements looking to destabilise the country.
Nuzly Hameem, one of the more prominent faces of the Galle Face protests, commenting on Wednesday’s police announcement said the protestors will seek legal recourse.
“This land was allocated by the same government for agitation, and now when we have been here for more than four months, out of nowhere we are asked to leave. We aren’t happy. We will fight this legally,” he said. (Colombo/Aug03/2022)