On Monday, Sri Lankan police enforced an indefinite curfew in Colombo after government supporters battled with activists calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse government supporters who broke through police lines to destroy anti-government protestors’ tents and other structures.
The incident occurred as allegations surfaced on Monday that Mahinda Rajapaksa may propose to quit as Prime Minister, as pressure rises on the fragile government led by his younger brother, President Gotabaya, to create an interim government to address the country’s greatest economic crisis.
Rajapaksa was rallying his supporters to put pressure on the government not to back down.
“While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we’re in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving,” PM Mahinda tweeted.
President Gotabaya said he “strongly condemn the violent acts”.
“Strongly condemn the violent acts taking place by those inciting & participating, irrespective of political allegiances. Violence won’t solve the current problems. I request all citizens to remain calm & exercise restraint. I urge everyone to work together in solving this crisis,” he tweeted.
Following the violence, a curfew was imposed in Colombo with immediate effect.
The ‘MainaGoGama’ protest site was launched up, calling for Mahinda’s resignation.
Hundreds of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe supporters were transported in buses, while others marched to the Temple Trees to demonstrate their support for the premier in the face of calls for his resignation, according to the Colombo Page news portal.
Demonstrators demanded that Rajapaksa stay in office rather than quit.