In Sri Lanka, protesters were expelled from the capital’s city center after the election of the new president

In Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, hundreds of policemen and soldiers in riot gear drove out protesters who had set up on the public highway on the night of Thursday, July 21 to Friday, July 22 and dismantled barricades that had blocked the main entrance to the secretariat. presidency. The protesters, who have been camping there since early April, announced that they would leave the building on Friday afternoon.

Eyewitnesses witnessed soldiers arresting several people and destroying the tents that were erected along the road leading to the presidential palace, while the police closed the neighboring streets to prevent new demonstrators from reaching the site. The new president had earlier told protesters to leave the building or risk being forcibly evicted. “If you try to overthrow the government, occupy the office of the president and the office of the prime minister, this is not a democracy, this is prohibited.”Ranil Wickremesinga said.

It also imposed a state of emergency that gives the armed forces and police broad powers to arrest suspects and detain them for a long period without charge. On Wednesday, a court had ordered the demonstrators to stop occupying the main road in front of the presidency and to gather in another designated place.

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“I am a friend of the people”

Ranil Wickremesinga 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. The latter has since taken refuge in Singapore, from where he has sent his resignation.

The new head of state, elected for the remainder of Mr Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in November 2024, expressed his desire to form a national unity government on Friday. He inherits a country ravaged by a catastrophic economic crisis, marked by shortages of food, electricity and fuel, and defaulting on its $51 billion foreign debt.

Mr Wickremesinga is 73 years old and has served as prime minister six times. Protesters accuse him of being an ally of the Rajapaksa, a very powerful family clan in Sri Lanka for more than two decades, which he denies. “I am not a friend of Rajapaksa. I am a friend of the people”he told reporters.

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Coalition government

In search of a Prime Minister, the new president could appoint his childhood friend Dinesh Gunawardina, a former civil service minister and a staunch supporter of the Rajapaksa clan. But according to political sources, at least two other personalities are also vying for this position.

A source in his entourage said Mr. Wickremesinga is keen to bring together a coalition of all formations, adding that Few of the main opposition MPs will join the government.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, who endorsed a rival candidate in Parliament’s election of the President of the Republic on Wednesday, Thursday said on Twitter After he met Mr. Wickremesinga and discussed how to protect the country again “Tragedies and Disasters”. “As the opposition, we will extend our constructive support to efforts to alleviate human suffering”specially.

The world with AFP

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