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Police clash with army soldiers during protests in the capital

Sri Lankan police ‘assaulted’ a group of Sri Lankan soldiers on Tuesday after the military aggressively approached the Sri Lankan parliament building in Colombo as part of an unannounced visit, DailyMirror reported Wednesday.

Other Sri Lankan and regional teams confirmed the incident, noting that the army officers were said to have been masked and not identified as members of the armed forces, so the police did not appear to have intentionally attacked the army.

“A group of masked soldiers holding assault rifles rode through the crowd on unmarked bicycles during a protest near the parliament building, which was also attended by children, women and the elderly,” India’s NDTV reported. “This led to a verbal confrontation between the armed soldiers and the police when officials tried to arrest them, prompting army chief Shavendra Silva to call for an investigation.”

Local reports indicate that army officers were acting on orders from their superiors, but the army had not notified the national police that soldiers were on the way. The police reportedly forbade the soldiers from approaching too close to the parliament building.

Sri Lankans demonstrate to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

“Police who were at the Poluwa junction near the parliament compound should not have assaulted the army officers who approached the area on motorbikes on Tuesday [April 5]said Sri Lankan Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka in the Sri Lankan parliament on April 6.

“I would have even opposed army officers if they assaulted police officers,” said Foneska, who is also a member of Sri Lanka’s parliament.

“At the same time, I would like to say that the army officers should not have come on motorbikes without license plates. I don’t know if these officers were sent by someone but anyway their arrival on places cannot be justified,” the senior military officer added.

Sri Lanka’s national parliament building in Colombo has served as the symbolic and literal center of severe turbulence in recent days amid major changes to the island nation’s government.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a national state of emergency on April 1 amid growing anti-government protests denouncing the country’s severe financial crisis. The order followed hours after Rajapaksa faced a personal safety threat when a crowd of thousands surrounded his home in Colombo on March 31, demanding his resignation.

“Public anger is at its peak, with crowds trying to storm the homes of several government figures since the weekend and large protests elsewhere in the country,” Agence France-Presse detailed. (AFP) on the protests in Sri Lanka on April 5.

Police clash with army soldiers during protests in the capital

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the nation with Army Commander Shavendra Silva, Navy Chief Nishantha Ulugetenne and Air Force Chief Sudarshana Pathirana during celebrations for the 73rd Day of Sri Lanka’s independence day in Colombo on February 4, 2021. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Rajapaksa lost his majority support in the Sri Lankan parliament on April 5. The development occurred just 48 hours after the massive resignation of almost the entire presidential cabinet on April 3.

“Tuesday’s parliamentary session was the first since dozens of MPs withdrew their support for Rajapaksa’s government, including 16 MPs from the president’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) and his former coalition allies,” observed AFP on Tuesday.

“The government is now five out of a majority in the 225-member House, but it was unclear whether lawmakers would try to introduce a no-confidence motion that would force him to resign,” the news agency noted. .

Sri Lankan opposition parties on April 4 rejected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s call to form a new unity administration headed by Gotabaya and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, himself a former president and brother of the president. .

On April 5, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa revoked his country’s state of emergency. The edict had granted the police the power to make arrests without warrants and prohibited people from leaving their homes.

“In a notification to the official gazette number 2274/10, the president said he had withdrawn the state of emergency ordinance which gave the security forces sweeping powers to curb any disturbance in the country,” he said. declared on Indian Express reported.

Sri Lanka’s financial crisis stems from a shortfall in foreign exchange reserves, which the island has traditionally relied on to purchase vital imported goods. Observers have blamed the Chinese coronavirus pandemic for cutting Sri Lanka off from its usual sources of foreign exchange, namely the tourism industry and remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. The funding crisis has resulted in severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine across Sri Lanka over the past month, with anti-government protests erupting in early March.

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