The main protest camp in Sri Lanka has been dismantled

The main protest camp in Sri Lanka has been dismantled

Soldiers and police breaking up protest camp in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Hundreds of Sri Lankan soldiers and police dismantled the main camp of anti-government protesters in the capital, Colombo, overnight from Thursday to Friday, hours after the swearing-in of the new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who promised firmness against the protesters.

Security forces in riot gear dislodged the protesters and dismantled the barricades that blocked the main entrance to the secretariat of the presidency. The protesters, who had been camping there since early April, had previously announced they would leave the scene on Friday afternoon.

Witnesses saw soldiers arresting several people and destroying tents erected along the avenue leading to the presidential palace, while police blocked adjacent streets to prevent new protesters from arriving.

The new president had previously asked protesters to leave the premises or risk being forcibly evacuated. If you try to overthrow the government, occupy the president's office and the prime minister's office, that's not democracy, that's outlawed, Mr Wickremesinghe said.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has been elected as the eighth President of Sri Lanka.

He also introduced a state of emergency, which gives the armed forces and police sweeping powers to arrest suspects and detain them for a long time without charge.

On Wednesday, a court had ordered the protesters to stop occupying the public road in front of the presidency and to gather in another designated place.

Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected president of Sri Lanka on Wednesday to replace Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who hastily fled his palace on July 9, which was stormed by thousands of angry protesters, and has since taken refuge in Singapore from #x27;where he sent in his resignation.

The new head of state, elected for the remaining period of Mr Rajapaksa's term of office which ends in November 2024, announced its desire to appoint a government of national unity on Friday.

He inherits a country ravaged by a catastrophic economic crisis, characterized by food, electricity and fuel shortages, and which has defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt.

Mr. Wickremesinghe is a 73-year-old cacique who has been prime minister six times. He is accused by protesters of being an ally of the Rajapaksa, an all-powerful family clan in Sri Lanka for more than two decades, which he denies.

“I am not a friend of the Rajapakasa. I am a friend of the people.

— Ranil Wickremesinghe, new President of Sri Lanka

In search of a prime minister, the new president could appoint his childhood friend, Dinesh Gunawardena, a former civil service minister and staunch supporter of the Rajapaksa clan. But according to political sources, at least two other personalities are also in the running for the post.

Mr. Wickremesinghe is keen to bring together a coalition of all parties, said a source in his entourage, adding that some deputies from the main opposition will join the cabinet.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, who backed a rival candidate in parliament's election of the president on Wednesday, said on Twitter on Thursday that he had met Mr Wickremesinghe and discussed how to shield the country from further miseries and disasters.

As the opposition, we will lend our constructive support to efforts to alleviate human suffering, Mr. Premadasa tweeted.

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