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US Calls For Prosecution of Those Involved in Violence Against Anti-Gov't Protesters in Sri Lanka

© AFP 2023 / ISHARA S. KODIKARADemonstrators and government supporters clash outside the official residence of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo on May 9, 2022. -
Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside the official residence of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo on May 9, 2022. - - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.05.2022
Sajith Premadasa, the opposition leader in Sri Lanka, on Tuesday squarely blamed ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa for instigating “state-sponsored violence” against peaceful protesters. “The Rajapaksas are fully responsible for the destruction they have unleashed. They have to be held accountable for their criminal acts,” he asserted.
The US State Department has condemned the violence against protesters in Sri Lanka, stating that it was “closely following” the ongoing developments in the South Asian nation.

“We condemn violence against peaceful protesters, and call for a full investigation, arrests and prosecutions of anyone involved. We are also concerned with the state of emergency declarations which can be used to curb dissent,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing.

Price further called on Colombo to “quicky identify and implement” solutions to end the ongoing economic crisis, which was fomented by a lack of forex reserves which led to government being unable to pay for fuel, food and other essential imports.
Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside the official residence of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo on 9 May, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Resigns Amid Anti-Government Protests
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also expressed concern over violence against the protesters, as he called for a “dialogue” to end the crisis.

"We continue to encourage all Sri Lankan stakeholders to find a solution to the current challenges through dialogue and with the interests of the country and the people in mind," a Deputy Spokesperson at the UN, Farhan Haq, remarked.

The comments by the US and the UN came as the protests over the economic crisis which began last month turned deadly on Monday after supporters of ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly travelled to Colombo and Galle and attacked anti-government demonstrators using sticks and stones.
The attacks led to counter-attacks by the anti-government demonstrators, with violence soon spreading to other parts of the island. The Sri Lankan authorities have declared a state of emergency, which is set to end on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, at least seven people, including a parliamentarian from Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, have died and over 230 injured so far as the result of Monday’s violence.
The protesters had been demanding resignation of both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajpaksa over the government’s economic mismanagement that contributed to the country’s current woes.
A vehicle belonging to the security personnel and a bus set alight is pictured near Sri Lanka's outgoing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's official residence in Colombo May 9, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Shots Heard Near House of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister - Report
Soon after the violence erupted, Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his resignation, which the President and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa accepted later in the evening.
The protesters also torched the residences of ruling party MPs, with petrol bombs reportedly hurled at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official residence in Colombo following his resignation.
The ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family in the southern city of Hambantota was also set on fire by riled up protesters, as seen in videos shared by local media.
According to local media, Rajapaksa left his residence early morning on Tuesday amid heavy security cover by the military.
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya has urged the Sri Lankan opposition parties to form a unity government in order to put an end to the ongoing political and economic crisis. However, the opposition and protesters are insisting on the resignation of the President.
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