Colombo: Security forces in Sri Lanka raided the main anti-government protest camp in the capital Colombo and have begun pulling down tents and removing the protesters from the sight, BBC reported on Friday.
This clampdown comes after Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as president, who had made it clear that any attempt to topple the government or occupy government buildings was not democracy and warned that those who indulge in such activities will be dealt with firmly according to the law.
Reports said that hundreds of troops and police commandos moved on the protesters outside the presidential offices, hours before they were due to leave the area.
When the protesters raised objections to their presence, the security personnel marched on and pushed back the protesters.
Within seconds, soldiers were shouting at the people and began dismantling and destroying make-shift tents and other items on the pavement. Troops also moved into the president’s office which was stormed by huge crowds last week.
Activists had earlier said they would hand over the building on Friday afternoon, but the soldiers began clearing everything in their way.
The protesters were pushed up to the designated protest site less than 100m away and steel barricades were set up to stop the activists.
Wickremesinghe – the former prime minister – is deeply unpopular with the public, and has vowed tough action against demonstrators. Many protesters wanted him to go as well, but some have said they will give him a chance.
Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over the worst economic crisis the country has ever faced.
There had been concerns among demonstrators that the government might gradually crack down on the protest movement sooner or later.