Sri Lanka faces crisis,
shoot-on-sight orders issed


By special correspondent

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka tri forces have been ordered to shoot all those who plunder public property or cause personal harm, local media reported on Tuesday as large-scale protests continue to take place across the island nation.
The comes nationwide protests against the government have intensified over the past few days resulting in an increase in incidents of clashes with the security forces deployed at protest sites. “The Ministry of Defence has ordered the tri-forces to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others,” Army Spokesman told Daily Mirror.
Protests have been identified in the country have people have resorted to burning houses of ministers and MP.

Sri Lankan resigned Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

Anti-government protesters also set on fire the official residences of Sri Lanka’s Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando and the MPs Sanath Nishantha, Ramesh Pathirana, Mahipala Herath, Thissa Kuttiarachchi and Nimal Lanza.
A large number of protesters were out on the streets and attacked the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MPs. Even some Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) offices were set ablaze, Daily Mirror reported.
Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and some of his family members have been shifted to Trincomalee Naval Base, a day after he resigned following violent protests that led to a nationwide curfew.
Helicopters were seen leaving the capital city today with VVIPs and some speculated that they were members of the Rajapaksa family, Colombo Gazette reported.
Earlier today, a group of protestors attacked s senior police officer in the Western Province on Tuesday in Colombo.
Police said that the Senior DIG come under attack near Beira Lake in Colombo. They said the group had also caused damage to the DIG’s vehicle.
The US on Monday said that it is closely monitoring the volatile situation in Sri Lanka after the protestors burned the houses of Ministers.
“Closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka. We are deeply concerned by the violence against peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders, and are urging all Sri Lankans to focus on finding and enabling long-term solutions to the country’s economic and political challenges,” tweeted US State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa quit on Monday after a day of violence that saw five people including an MP killed and over 189 wounded as government supporters armed with sticks and clubs attacked protestors.

Lawmaker Amarakeerthi Athukorala from the ruling party shot two people — killing a 27-year-old man — and then himself after being surrounded by a mob of anti-government protestors outside the city, police said.

Sri Lanka has suffered months of blackouts and medicines in its worst economic crisis since independence, sparking weeks of overwhelmingly peaceful anti-government demonstrations.

Protests in Sri Lanka

On Monday scores of Rajapaksa loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the president´s office at the sea-front Galle Face promenade in downtown Colombo since April 9.

The violence began after several thousand supporters of the prime minister, brought in buses from rural areas that poured out of his nearby official residence.

Rajapaksa had addressed some 3,000 supporters at his house and pledged he would “protect the interests of the nation.” The supporters then initially pulled down tents of protesters in front of the prime minister´s Temple Trees residence and torched anti-government banners and placards.

The country´s largest opposition party had said before the clashes that it would not join any government helmed by a member of the Rajapaksa clan.

The resignation of the prime minister automatically means the cabinet stands dissolved. President Rajapaksa has not been seen in public since tens of thousands attempted to storm his private residence in Colombo on March 31.

Sri Lanka´s crisis began after the coronavirus pandemic hammered vital income from tourism and remittances, starving the country of foreign currency needed to pay off its debt and forcing the government to ban the imports of many goods. This in turn has led to severe shortages, runaway inflation and lengthy power blackouts. In April, the country announced it was defaulting on its $51 billion foreign debt.

US ambassador

The US ambassador to Sri Lanka said Washington condemned “the violence against peaceful protestors today, and call(s) on the government to conduct a full investigation, including the arrest & prosecution of anyone who incited violence”.

“Our sympathies are with those injured today and we urge calm and restraint across the island,” Julie Chung tweeted.

MP Athukorala´s car was surrounded in the town of Nittambuwa outside Colombo as he returned home from the capital after the clashes. “The MP fled the scene and took refuge at a nearby building,” police said. “Thousands surrounded the building and he then took his own life with his revolver.” Athukorala´s bodyguard was also found dead at the scene, police said. Opposition MP Sajith Premadasa tried to move into the area after the Colombo clashes, but he came under attack from a mob and his security staff bundled him into a car and drove off.