Sri Lankan forces make arrests, clear main protest site
Sri Lankan security forces arrested several people by early Friday and cleared the main camp have occupied for more than three months while demanding the nation’s leaders resign over an economic collapse.
Army and police personnel arrived in trucks and buses around midnight, removing tents and protest banners at the site near the presidential palace in the capital, Colombo, where demonstrators have gathered for the past 104 days. They blocked off roads leading to the site and carried long poles. The security forces were watching beating up at least two.
No calls to a “neutral umpire”. No politicians making grand promises. No religious leaders spreading communal hatred. Just people. Or better still, peoples — Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindus. Students, their parents and grandparents, professionals – teachers, nurses, lawyers, bankers, doctors, computer engineers.
From April 9 to July 9, as an economic crisis brought about by a dollar shortage suddenly manifested in crippling shortages of food, fuel and medicines, Sri Lankans of all hues congregated at Colombo’s Galle Face oceanfront, with only one demand: “Gota Go Home oceanfront “. They had no leaders but they were well-organised. Fastidiously, they cleaned up the protest site every morning and evening, as if to convey the cleaning up of Sri Lanka itself. Out of the plastic waste, they created artwork on the promenade.