Sri Lanka: Presidential Palace to reopen on Monday

Sri Lanka: the presidential palace will reopen on Monday

Soldiers and police stand guard outside the palace presidential election in Colombo.

Sri Lanka's presidential palace will reopen on Monday, police said, days after the brutal dismantling of an encampment of anti-government protesters by military and law enforcement officials sparked public outcry. #x27;concern of the international community.

The presidential palace is ready to reopen on Monday, a police official told AFP on Sunday, on condition of anonymity, because not being not authorized to speak to the media.

Experts went to the scene to collect evidence of the damage caused by the protesters, he added.

< p class="e-p">Hundreds of soldiers and police armed with automatic assault rifles and batons brutally dismantled a camp of anti-government protesters at dawn on Friday on the orders of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had just been sworn in.

At least 48 people were injured and nine arrested.

Western governments, the United Nations and human rights groups have condemned Ranil Wickremesinghe for using violence against unarmed protesters who announced their intention to leave the site on Friday. /p>

Ranil Wickremesinghe defended the method used and said he told Colombo-based diplomats on Friday that blocking government buildings was unacceptable.

Protesters at the prime minister's office, July 13, 2022.

The building had been partially overrun by thousands of protesters nearly two weeks ago, precipitating the downfall of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The leader, rescued in his nearby residence by the army, fled to Singapore from where he sent in his resignation.

Police spokesman Nihal Talduwa said on Sunday that protesters were free to continue their demonstrations at a designated site near the presidential office.

The military operation aimed at dismantling the protesters' encampment took place less than 24 hours after the inauguration of Mr. Wickremesinghe and just before the appointment of a new Cabinet.

Elected for the remaining term of Mr. Rajapaksa's term, which ends in November 2024, Mr. Wickremesinghe inherits a country ravaged by an economic crisis, short of foreign currency, prone to long blackouts , food, fuel and medicine shortages for months.

His bankrupt government has defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt, and is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund.

The crisis shows no signs of easing, but the government announced on Sunday that it would reopen schools, which were closed for most of of the month.

The Ministry of Education has announced that pupils and teachers will only be asked to return to school three days a week, as the Transportation is still hampered by a nationwide fuel shortage.

Kilometer-long queues s for refueling were seen nationwide on Sunday, despite the introduction of a rationing system.

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