Foreign

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

President's Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

Police said that the besieged presidential office in Sri Lanka will reopen on Monday, days after anti-government protesters were driven from the country in a military response that drew international outrage.

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Protesters stormed and occupied the colonial-era structure earlier this month as a result of widespread public outrage over the island’s catastrophic economic crisis.

On the same day, soldiers had to rescue the then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa from his neighboring mansion; the leader afterward fled to Singapore and announced his resignation.

Police said that the besieged presidential office in Sri Lanka will reopen on Monday, days after anti-government protesters were driven from the country in a military response that drew international outrage.

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

Protesters stormed and occupied the colonial-era structure earlier this month as a result of widespread public outrage over the island’s catastrophic economic crisis.

On the same day, soldiers were had to rescue the then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa from his neighboring mansion; the leader afterwards fled to Singapore and announced his resignation.

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Troops armed with batons and automatic weapons cleared the 92-year-old presidential secretariat in a pre-dawn raid Friday on the orders of Rajapaksa’s successor, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

At least, 48 people were wounded and nine arrested in the operation, during which security forces tore down tents set up by protesters outside the complex in April.

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

“The office is ready for reopening from Monday,” said a police official Sunday, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“The siege of the secretariat, which lasted since May 9, has now been lifted.”

Police said forensic experts had been called in to check damage to the Presidential Secretariat and gather evidence.

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Western governments, the United Nations, and human rights groups have condemned Wickremesinghe for using violence against unarmed protesters who had announced their intention to vacate the site later on Friday.

Wickremesinghe defended the crackdown and said he had told Colombo-based diplomats on Friday that blocking government buildings was unacceptable.

President’s Office To Reopen In Sri Lanka After Crackdown

Police spokesman Nihal Talduwa said protesters were free to continue their demonstrations at a designated site near the presidential office.

“They can remain at the official protest site. The government may even open a few more places for demonstrators in the city,” Talduwa said Sunday.

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The military operation to clear the secretariat building and its immediate surroundings came less than 24 hours after Wickremesinghe was sworn in and just before a new cabinet was appointed.


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