A Sri Lankan court on Friday was moved to direct the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to immediately arrest former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and six others for alleged criminal intimidation and aiding and abetting attacks on peaceful anti-government protesters here this week, according to a media report. The personal complaint was lodged before the Colombo Magistrate's Court where attacks on peaceful protesters outside the prime minister's residence and near Galle Face were cited, Daily Mirror Lanka reported.
The protesters who were attacked by the supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa were demanding the ruling leadership resign and take responsibility for the unprecedented economic crisis plaguing the country. Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage has ordered the petition to be taken up before the Colombo Chief Magistrate court on May 17. The complaint was lodged by Attorney Senaka Perera.
The petition demands the immediate arrest of former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Members of Parliament Johnston Fernando, Sanjeewa Edirimanne, Sanath Nishantha, Moratuwa Municipal Council Chairman Saman Lal Fernando, senior police officials Deshabandu Tennakoon and Chandana Wickremeratne.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking the resignation of President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports. Mahinda resigned as prime minister on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy Army troops in the capital.
The attack triggered widespread violence against pro-Rajapaksa politicians. At least 9 people died with over 200 being hospitalized. Some 58 of Mahinda Rajapaksa's government colleagues have seen arson attacks on their personal properties. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who served as the country's prime minister thrice, saw his residence set on fire on Monday. Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with his wife and family, fled his official residence – Temple Trees – and took shelter at the naval base in Trincomalee.