Colombo, Sri Lanka – The navy in Sri Lanka has taken management of the presidential secretariat within the capital after “brutally assaulting” the protesters.
Troopers additionally destroyed tents on the adjoining GotaGoGama protest website, arrested a number of protest leaders and cordoned off the realm along with about 100 protesters.
The navy assault got here hours after the protesters withdrew from the camp in entrance of Temple Timber, the prime minister’s official residence. The protesters had already introduced their intention to withdraw from the presidential secretariat on July 22.
“By round midnight we heard that an enormous contingent of navy was on their manner in the direction of GotaGoGama and all of the sudden we noticed them operating into the presidential secretariat,” Nipun Charaka Jayasekara, a younger protester locked in GotaGoGama advised Al Jazeera.
“Quickly after, they cordoned off the realm and brutally assaulted the peaceable protesters as if we have been thugs.”
He sustained minor accidents, he stated, whereas attempting to run away from the navy crackdown.
Because the navy assault started, Jayasekara streamed it dwell however later misplaced his smartphone within the chaos.
“Some have been very badly assaulted; inhumanely assaulted as in the event that they haven’t any coronary heart. Now we have nowhere to go now. We’re locked in GotaGoGama. I’ve nothing now; not even my telephone. I’m now utilizing an previous telephone now. I’m left with solely my garments,” he stated.
It’s estimated that about 10 protesters have been badly injured after being attacked.
The assault on the protest websites got here after Ranil Wickremesinghe, a six-time prime minister, took the oath because the nation’s new president. His predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had fled the nation after weeks of protests triggered by the nation’s financial collapse and rising public anger over the Rajapaksas longtime political affect.
The Sri Lanka Bar Affiliation stated it had been made conscious of the raids and that there had been arrests.
“The authorities should guarantee the protection of everybody and their whereabouts have to be made identified,” the affiliation’s president Saliya Peiris stated in an announcement. “I’ve tried to contact the IGP (Inspector Basic of Police) and in addition messaged the Military Commander. Pointless use of brute power won’t assist this nation and its worldwide picture.”
‘Sea of troopers’
Protester Anjana Bandarawatta advised Al Jazeera advised of the chaos because the armed forces swooped.
“There was no warning in any respect. The navy all of the sudden got here in and chased us away assaulting us and shouting with filthy language,” he stated.”There could also be 200 protesters however the entire space appears to be like like a sea of troopers.”
Shabeer Mohamed, a younger protest chief, stated he was assaulted by an air power officer whereas reporting the raid dwell by way of social media.
“He got here from behind and assaulted me on the top and threw away my cell phone whereas I used to be dwell streaming. A number of different folks have been additionally assaulted once they have been doing dwell broadcasts,” Shabeer Mohamed advised Al Jazeera.
“They’ve sealed off GotaGoGama and no journalist is allowed in.”
A number of folks aired the assault dwell on social media however the streams stopped a number of occasions, regarded as interrupted by the authorities.
Video footage shared on social media confirmed how troopers approached the protest website and turned away from one man when he shouted “media, media, BBC”. They then continued on to examine the tents erected by the protesters.
Melani Gunathilake, a frontrunner of the protest motion, was stopped by the troops as she was strolling in the direction of GotaGoGama along with a pal. When she took some photographs of the scene, a soldier grabbed her telephone and deleted the photographs, she advised Al Jazeera.
When her pal questioned it, the troops picked him up as effectively.
“After the announcement that the protesters have been planning to handover the Presidential Secretariat to the govt. on twenty second July at 2.00pm, within the early hours of the twenty second morning simply after 1.00am giant numbers of armed forces cordoned off GotaGoGama from all sides and began attacking the unarmed protesters,” an announcement by the protest leaders stated.
“The IT Heart, The Disabled Troopers Tent, The Group Kitchen that fed so many lots of of individuals on daily basis at no cost, the SYU Tent, The Listening to Impaired Tent, The Gate Zero Tent – these amongst others have been destroyed utterly,” it added.
A number of protest leaders, together with lawyer Nuwan Bopage, activist Lahiru Silva, Anuranga and one disabled soldier, are amongst these confirmed to have been taken away by the navy, based on different motion leaders.
Wickremesinghe is anticipated to nominate a brand new prime minister and a cupboard afterward Friday.
After being elected by the parliament, with the assistance of Rajapaksa backers, he stated he wouldn’t permit any criminality similar to occupying authorities premises or trying to overthrow the federal government.
“We publicly introduced that we’d go away tomorrow. We determined to present an opportunity to Ranil Wickremesinghe. That they had no motive to do that other than to point out their energy. Their intention was to intimidate and oppress the protest motion,” protester Jayasekara advised Al Jazeera.