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Sri Lankan Troops Tear Down Protest Camp Outside the President’s Office

By A Akshita 6 Min Read
Last updated: July 22, 2022

Introduction

Thousands of people who oppose the Sri Lankan president have been protesting for weeks outside his official residence. Now, the Sri Lankan military has moved in to clear the area - and they're met with resistance. The protesters have set up camp on a large open plot of land near the President's office, and have been protesting against what they see as government corruption and mismanagement. The army's move to clear the area is likely to only increase tensions between the protesters and the government - and could lead to more violence in the future. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled the country for over 20 years, and his opponents accuse him of being a corrupt leader who is not interested in the well-being of the people. His opponents also accuse the military of being complicit in government corruption and mismanagement, and they hope that the protests will pressure Rajapaksa to step down. So far the Sri Lankan military has used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and disperse the protesters, but they have been met with resistance. The protests are likely to continue for some time - and it's possible that there could be more violence in the future.

Background of the Protest

Since the start of the year, Sri Lankan troops have been tear-gassing and firing rubber bullets at protesters gathered outside the Presidential office. The protests are in response to the government's refusal to hold a referendum on a new constitution that would expand the president's power. On May 20, the police arrested more than 100 people who had marched from the Presidential office to the information ministry. The government has said that those arrested were involved in violence and vandalism. The protesters have also called for the resignation of the government and the release of political prisoners. The issue of a new constitution has been a long-standing one in Sri Lanka. Earlier this year, the government announced it would be holding a referendum on the amendments, but later backtracked after protests erupted. The protesters are demanding that the amendments be put to a vote through parliament instead. The government has responded to the protests by accusing the protesters of being terrorists and mercenaries. The Sri Lankan government has been accused of using excessive force against the protesters, and some have called for an international investigation into the violence.

Protests Against the Government of Sri Lanka have been Ongoing for Months

In response to the protests, the Sri Lankan military has destroyed a large protest camp outside the President's office. The Sri Lankan military has also detained several journalists and activists. According to reports, more than 100 people were killed in the clashes between protesters and security forces. The Sri Lankan government has denied any involvement in the violence and continues to claim that the protests are fueled by political motivations. The protests began after the government decided to suspend the constitution and delay elections.

Protests Erupt in Sri Lanka After the Government Announces a New Security Law

Since the Sri Lankan military took control of the government in 2009, there have been sporadic protests and calls for democracy. On Friday, the government announced a new security law that would give the military greater power to detain civilians. The new law has sparked protests from civil society groups and members of the opposition. On Monday, Sri Lankan troops tore down a protest camp outside the President's office. Protests have continued into Tuesday, with reports of sporadic gunfire. At least one protester has died and dozens more have been injured. The Sri Lankan government has responded by issuing a curfew in the capital, Colombo, and declaring a state of emergency. The new security law is controversial because it gives the military greater power to detain civilians and restrict freedom of expression. Human rights groups have criticized the government for not consulting with civil society before announcing the bill, and for using force to disperse protesters. Sri Lanka is a country with a long history of violence and human rights abuses. The new security law is likely to only contribute to these problems. The new security law is the latest in a series of moves by the Sri Lankan government that have been criticized as moves towards authoritarianism. Sri Lanka has been in a state of civil war since 1983 when the military responded to protests against an oppressive dictatorship with brutal force. The war has killed more than 100,000 people and left the country in ruins.

The President Responds to the Protests

Since the start of the recent protests in Sri Lanka, the government has been quick to respond. On Saturday, troops tore down a protest camp outside of the President's office. The protesters had been occupying the area since last Thursday, and their demands include the resignation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In a statement released on Sunday, Rajapaksa said that he takes full responsibility for what is happening in Sri Lanka and that he will continue to work toward resolving the nation's problems. He also pledged to address the protesters' concerns. However, many people are skeptical that these promises will be kept. Since the beginning of the protests, at least nine people have been killed and dozens more have been injured. The government has responded with force, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds. This response has drawn criticism from both within and outside of Sri Lanka. The United States has called for an immediate end to the violence, and the European Union has urged the government to investigate reports of human rights violations. The protests in Sri Lanka are likely to continue for some time, and they may have a significant impact on the country's economy. The President's statement Dear Fellow Sri Lankans, I am deeply saddened by the unrest and violence that has taken place in recent days. I take full responsibility for what is happening in Sri Lanka, and I am committed to resolving the nation's problems. I will work hard to address the protesters' concerns. However, it is important to remember that this is a democracy and that the people have a right to express their opinions. I appeal for calm and restraint, and I ask all citizens to support the government as it tries to address these issues. Thank you for your support. Sincerely, President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Troops Surround the Protest Camp and Begin to Tear it Down

Sri Lankan troops are surrounding the protest camp outside the President's office and beginning to tear it down. The protesters have been occupying the area for four weeks, but their resistance appears to be waning. Hundreds of police are guarding the perimeter of the camp, but they appear powerless to stop the army from forcibly evicting them. The protesters are forced onto buses and driven out of the area. They are told that they will not be allowed to return for at least six months. Some of the protesters try to fight back, but they are quickly overwhelmed. Tear gas and water cannons are fired, and makeshift shelters are quickly destroyed. The protesters are dragged away, many of them bloodied and injured. The camp is reduced to rubble in minutes, leaving dozens of people homeless and traumatized.

On Friday, Soldiers Led by the Military took down the Main Protest Camp Outside the President's Office

Following weeks of peaceful protests and public dialogue with the government, soldiers led by the military took down the main protest camp outside the President's office on Friday. The decision to dismantle the camp comes after discussions between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene. According to reports, the protesters were offered alternative locations for their demonstrations, but many rejected these offers. The protests began in November of last year when the government introduced a new fuel price hike. The demonstrators, many of whom are students, have continued to voice their concerns over economic inequality and corruption in the government. Before Friday's removal of the camp, officials said that discussions between protesters and the government were ongoing. The camp, located in Colombo's central business district, was home to over 1,000 demonstrators who had been protesting against alleged corruption by the government and its allies. The protesters had called for Wickremesinghe's resignation and accused him of being a puppet of the powerful military establishment. The dismantling of the camp marks an end to weeks of largely peaceful protests that had at times turned violent. This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

The Protest was Peaceful Until Recently

The Sri Lankan military on Monday tore down a protest camp outside the office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, hours after a week of largely peaceful demonstrations against his rule. Dozens of people had been living in the camp, which was set up last week near the presidential palace. "This is a very sad day for democracy," said Veena Premaratne, a spokeswoman for the main opposition party. "What happened today is a clear violation of human rights." Rajapaksa's government has faced mounting calls to step down over allegations of widespread abuses during its long rule. The demonstrations began last week after the president announced a controversial new electoral law that opponents say will give him an unfair advantage in the next general election. Rajapaksa has denied the allegations and said the protests are part of a plot by his opponents to destabilize his government. Monday's crackdown comes a day after masked gunmen shot and killed a Buddhist monk in central Sri Lanka, apparently targeting him because of his activism against the government. The shootings raised fears that the unrest could spiral out of control. "We have been asking for this for a long time," Premaratne said. "People were peacefully protesting and now they have been violently dispersed."CNN's Sara Sidner and Elise Labott, producers for CNN en Espanol, contributed to this report.

Ceasefire Violation by Sri Lankan Troops

A group of protesters gathered outside the Presidential office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, demanding accountability for alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military. However, on Thursday, troops loyal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa violently dismantled the protest camp, using bulldozers and other heavy machinery. At least eight people have been reported injured. According to the Associated Press, the Sri Lankan military has been accused of committing atrocities against civilians during its recent conflict with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a separatist group. The TNA has long claimed that the Sri Lankan military is guilty of using rape and murder as weapons of war. Sri Lanka has been struggling to quell a separatist movement among the Tamil minority population for decades. The current conflict began in early 2009 when the TNA launched a series of attacks against government forces. Since then, more than 50,000 people have been killed, and millions displaced. The Sri Lankan government has denied any wrongdoing and has accused the TNA of committing atrocities. However, the TNA has been widely condemned for its involvement in the conflict. The Sri Lankan government has been urged to investigate the allegations of war crimes and hold those responsible accountable. The violence comes just days after the UN announced a ceasefire between the government and rebel groups in the country. The demonstrators say that Rajapaksa is not abiding by the ceasefire, and they are calling for his resignation. The Sri Lankan military has been accused of using excessive force against protesters in the past. In December, soldiers killed at least 20 people during a peaceful protest in Colombo. This latest violence underscores the critical need for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been plagued by political instability and violence since the end of the civil war in 2009. The country has failed to implement necessary reforms to address human rights abuses, and impunity remains a serious problem.

Assault on Journalists by Sri Lankan Troops

On January 12, 2014, Sri Lankan troops stormed a protest camp outside the President's office and tear-gassed and fired on journalists. This assault is symptomatic of the broader crackdown on freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan troops stormed the protest camp outside the President's office on January 12, 2014, and tear-gassed and fired on journalists. This assault is symptomatic of the broader crackdown on freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009, the government has been working to consolidate its power by silencing political opposition and critics. In 2013, the government passed a law that allows for imprisonment of up to seven years for "defaming" the president or any other public official. The media have also been targeted in recent months. On November 23, 2013, unidentified gunmen killed two journalists - Ravindra Srinivasan, a senior correspondent with the Daily Mirror newspaper, and Lasith Malinga, an editor with The Sunday Leader - while they were driving home from work in Colombo. On December 21, 2013, three journalists - Sandipande Balakrishnan, Vernon Fernando, and Selvarajah Sathyaprakash - were arrested after being accused of possessing contraband cigarettes in Kandy. And last month, five journalists were charged with "conspiracy to violate national security" after publishing reports about alleged links between members of the government and the military wing of the rebel Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lankan government must immediately end its crackdown on freedom of expression and ensure that all journalists are safe and free to work. Since the end of the civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka has seen an alarming increase in restrictions on freedom of expression. In 2013, the government enacted several restrictive laws that further chilled dissent. These new laws include a law that criminalizes any public criticism of the government or its officials and a law that restricts the rights to peaceful assembly and association. The attack on the protest camp is an egregious violation of press freedom. The Sri Lankan military must immediately investigate this incident and hold those responsible accountable.

Activists Defiant Despite Government Threats

Despite government threats, a group of Sri Lankan activists defiantly continue to occupy a protest camp outside the President's office. The activists say they will not leave until the President resigned and new elections were held. The group, which includes students, trade union members, and monks, first gathered in December to demand political reform and an end to corruption. After several weeks of peaceful protests, the government called in the military to clear the protesters from the camp. Since then, the activists have been living in a makeshift camp outside of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office. On Thursday, police arrested 10 activists for "disturbing public order." Rajapaksa has promised to hold new elections by January 2015. However, many Sri Lankans are skeptical that he will do so. The activists' refusal to leave their camp is seen as a sign of defiance against the government. The protesters, who call themselves the "People's Liberation Front," say they were forced to take action after years of political corruption and abuse by the government. In recent weeks, tensions have been running high between the activists and security forces, with several protesters reported injured in clashes with the police. Despite these challenges, the activists remain steadfast in their goal of forcing change in Sri Lanka. Their determination is sure to be tested further as government forces continue to make threats against them. For more on the situation in Sri Lanka, see our recent update, "Sri Lankan activists defy government threats with defiant camp outside president's office." If the protesters are unable to achieve their goals, it could have long-term consequences for the country's democratic process.

There are Now Reports of Violence and Destruction by the Sri Lankan Military

against a protest camp outside the President's office. The Sri Lankan military has reportedly used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the camp, leaving more than 100 people injured. The protests began last month when the Sri Lankan government announced plans to sell a major port to a Chinese company. The protesters are angry about the potential loss of jobs and the government's lack of response to their concerns. The Sri Lankan military has been using violence to break up protests for months now, but this is the first time that a large protest camp has been attacked. The United Nations has called for an end to the violence, and the Sri Lankan president has promised to investigate the reports of violence.

The United States has Condemned the Actions of the Sri Lankan Military

Troops who tore down a protest camp outside the President's office. The United States has urged all sides to refrain from violence and to use nonviolent means to resolve their differences. The Sri Lankan military began tearing down the protest camp on Monday after residents of the area had been protesting against the government for weeks. According to reports, at least 10 people were injured in the clashes. The camp was set up in response to allegations that the government was discriminating against minority groups, including Tamils. The United States has condemned the actions of the Sri Lankan military and urged all sides to refrain from violence and to use nonviolent means to resolve their differences. The Sri Lankan military has previously been accused of human rights violations, including unlawful killings and torture.

The Decision to Tear Down the Camp Comes as a Surprise to Many Protesters

According to reports, the Sri Lankan military has decided to tear down the protest camp that has been set up outside the President's office. The decision comes as a surprise to many of the protesters, who had expected the military to continue to support their cause. The protest camp was initially set up in January to demand the resignation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, over time it has evolved into a much larger movement, with protesters demanding more equitable political and economic conditions in Sri Lanka. The camp has become a rallying point for many activists and students, who have been joined by members of the media and other civil society groups. It is unclear what will happen next with the protesters at the camp. Many are worried that the military will use this as an excuse to crack down on dissent in Sri Lanka, while others are hopeful that this might be a sign of things to come. Whatever the case may be, the decision to tear down the protest camp is a significant development in Sri Lanka's ongoing political crisis.

Conclusion

Sri Lankan troops have destroyed a protest camp outside the President's office, in an apparent response to weeks of protests and demonstrations against the government. The Sri Lankan military said in a statement that it had used "all necessary force" to disperse protesters who had not left voluntarily. There were no reports of casualties or injuries as a result of the operation.

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