Sri Lankan Police dismantle protest settlement in front of the Presidential Secretariat

At least nine people have been detained and two injured as hundreds of Sri Lankan security force soldiers dismantled the main anti-government protest camp in the capital Colombo on Friday and began dismantling tents.

Tensions have escalated as troops have evicted protesters from the compound and Police have arrested nine people and two more have been injured, as reported by Adaderana portal.

In a joint operation by the Army, Police and Sri Lankan Special Force, tents erected in front of the Presidential Secretariat have been dismantled.

Security forces had warned that they would arrest protesters under emergency laws if they confronted officers.

On the other hand, the British broadcaster BBC has reported that one of its journalists has been beaten by the Sri Lankan Army and a soldier has snatched his phone and deleted the videos he had made.

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The dismantling of the protest camp came less than 24 hours after Sri Lanka’s new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was sworn in, in a ceremony held a day after his election by Parliament.

Sri Lankan authorities announced on July 14 the imposition of a curfew from 12 noon (local time) in the district of Colombo, the most populous city and former capital of the country, amid the wave of demonstrations in recent days and following the flight from the country of the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The United States and the United Nations have expressed their concern over the violent eviction and warned that any such repression could end up bursting the transition process.

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“Deeply concerned about the actions taken against protesters in Galle Face in the middle of the night. We urge the authorities for restraint and immediate access to medical care for the injured,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said.

Also the UN coordinator in the country, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, declared herself “gravely concerned by the use of force to disperse demonstrators”, before recalling that “journalists and human rights defenders have the right to monitor demonstrations and their functions should not be hindered”.

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