Hours after crackdown, Sri Lanka President's secretariat in full control of army | Watch
An early morning raid was carried out to clear the site, which had been in control of anti-government protesters for nearly two weeks.
The Sri Lankan President's secretariat, which was overrun by protesters nearly two weeks ago, was on Friday back under full control of the island nation's army, hours after tri-services troops, along with the Police Special Task Force (STF), launched a crackdown on protesters at the Galle Face protest site in Colombo.
A visual shared by news agency ANI showed that only armed forces personnel were present inside the Presidential secretariat's premises, in complete contrast to scenes witnessed on July 9, when scores of demonstrators stormed and occupied the building, located in the country's commercial capital.
Also, barricades can be seen on the outside of the Presidential office; during the crackdown, armed forces personnel also took down tents of protesters who were camping outside the secretariat.
The raid was launched in early hours of Friday. As many as nine demonstrators were arrested, while two were hospitalised with minor injuries.
Meanwhile condemning the crackdown, leader of opposition Sajith Premadasa tweeted, “A cowardly assault against PEACEFUL protestors, who agreed to vacate the sites today; A useless display of ego and brute force putting innocent lives at risk & endangers Sri Lanka’s international image, at a critical juncture”.
On Wednesday, Sri Lanka got its new President, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who returned in May for a record sixth term as prime minister, and was serving as interim President after Gotabaya Rajapaksa, last week, fled to Maldives, and, subsequently, to Singapore.
The anti-government protests were triggered by the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, its worst since becoming an independent country, in 1948. The crisis was squarely blamed on the Rajapaksa clan, several members of which were ministers in the government.
(With agency inputs)
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