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Sri Lanka crisis: Soldiers, military vehicles deployed on roads

Colombo, May 11 (Agency)

Sri Lankan authorities on Wednesday deployed troops and military vehicles on the roads to ensure security in the capital, amid nationwide protests over the government’s “failure” to deal with the economic crisis. Sri Lanka’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday ordered army, air force and navy personnel to shoot at anyone who loots public property or causes damage to others. Army special forces have also been deployed to ensure security in Colombo and the suburbs. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday urged the public to end the violence. He said that Sri Lankan citizens must unite to overcome economic, social and political challenges.

Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne on Tuesday urged protesters to remain calm and not indulge in violence. He warned that if there is looting and damage to properties, the Defense Ministry will take strict action against those involved in such acts. “I appeal to men and women to refrain from indulging in violence. Do not set fire to public and private properties and engage in conflict in a democratic and peaceful manner.

Mahinda Rajapakse (76) resigned as Prime Minister on Monday. Hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, authorities imposed a nationwide curfew and deployed army personnel in the capital. After this attack, widespread violence started against the pro-Rajapaksa leaders. At least eight people died in these clashes, while more than 250 people were injured.

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