Sri Lanka Crisis: Police Arrests Over 1,500 People In Connection With May 9 Violence That Killed At Least 10

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Sri Lanka Crisis: Police Arrests Over 1,500 People In Connection With May 9 Violence That Killed At Least 10

On May 9, violence erupted in Sri Lanka after supporters of former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked peaceful anti-government protesters demanding his ouster over the country’s worst economic crisis that led to acute shortages of staple food, fuel and power.

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The Sri Lankan Police have arrested at least 1,500 people in connection with the violent clashes between anti- and pro-government protestors that killed at least 10 people and injured more than 200 people earlier this month. Violent clashes erupted between the supporters of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and peaceful anti-government protestors on May 9.

What Are The Authorities Saying?

In a report by The New Indian Express, SSP Nihal Thalduwa, a spokesman for Sri Lanka police, said that around 1,500 people connected to the violent clashes have been arrested. He further added that about 152 people had been arrested in 24 hours.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) interrogated Chandana D Wickramaratne, the Inspector General of Police, as his alleged actions triggered the violent clashes that caused the death of at least 10 people and injured more than 200 people.

Galle district MP Ramesh Pathirana informed the Parliament that Deshabandu Tennakoon, the Senior Police DIG who overlooked the Western Province, told the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that Wickramaratne instructed him not to block the mob heading to Galle Face to disrupt the anti-government protestors. He further added that the President demanded that action be taken; otherwise, the situation would spiral out of control.

The police rushed to the spot and fired tear gas and water cannons on the mob, but around that time, at least 10 people were dead and many more were injured.

The CID questioned three members of the ruling SLPP parliamentary group over their alleged involvement in the clashes. Namal Rajapaksa, a former minister and the son of former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, was also summoned on Friday, and his statement was recorded.

What Happened During The Clashes?

Many tents and structures were destroyed at Galle Face in Colombo by the mob, and the peaceful protestors were also attacked.

Arson attacks also took place during the violence, and the homes of several politicians, including the Rajapaksa ancestral home, were burned down. The properties of around 78 MP's faced arson attacks.

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