Social media users shared videos of how Sri Lankan security personnel invaded anti-government demonstration camps in Colombo on Friday, hours after Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the country’s new president. In one of these videos, released by the news agency ANI, protesters can be seen taking pictures and recordings or arguing with security officers as they block the entrance to the Galle Face demonstration site in Colombo.
The lack of essential production inputs is causing the island nation’s economy to rapidly decline. Since March of this year, Sri Lanka’s currency has depreciated by 80%, and the country has failed to pay its international debt commitments due to a shortage of foreign reserves. There is a severe fuel scarcity across the nation.
Armed with assault rifles, riot gear-clad soldiers marched through the demonstration zone in front of the president’s secretariat, where rows of protest tents were set up on either side of the main road.
At least 50 demonstrators were hurt, according to the organisers, as reported by Reuters, including some journalists who were physically assaulted by security personnel.
The raid in the nation’s capital occurred early on Friday, a day after veteran politician Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the crisis-hit nation’s new president, succeeding Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whom protesters forced to resign. Wickremesinghe promised severe action against demonstrators.