- In a statement to reporters earlier, Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he intends to take legal action against those who continue to occupy the President’s office
- Wickremesinghe added that he would support peaceful protesters, but would take a tough stance against those who advocate violence under the guise of peaceful protest
- A popular uprising triggered by Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s alleged mismanagement of the economy forced him to flee the country on July 9
Colombo: Hundreds of Sri Lankan soldiers and police raided an anti-government protest camp in Colombo in the early hours of Friday. According to news agency AFP, tents belonging to activists, who were blocking the Presidential Secretariat, were dismantled during the raid.
Baton-wielding security personnel began removing barricades erected by protesters near the main gate of the Presidential Secretariat.
On Thursday, news agency PTI reported that the main protest group, which had been blocking the entrance to the President’s office since April 9, vowed to continue to protest until (new Sri Lankan President Ranil) Wickremesinghe resigned. “Our victory would come only when we are able to form the people’s Assembly,” said Lahiru Weerasekera, a spokesman for the group.
Soldiers encircled the seafront office and removed several temporary structures that were erected to provide logistics for thousands of anti-government protestors since April, witnesses reported.
Protesters were asked by security forces to retreat to a designated area near the secretariat.
A number of activists were seized by troops who tore down tents located near the presidential office, added the report.
Wickremesinghe had earlier vowed tough action against demonstrators, telling them that occupying state buildings was illegal and that if they did not leave on their own, they would be evicted.
Furthermore, he differentiated peaceful protesters from “rioters” and said there would be no place for troublemakers.