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Sri Lanka Crisis Updates: As Ranil, Dinesh Occupy Power, Will They 'Save Nation'? Roads to Galle Face Blocked Amid Crackdown on Protests

A stalwart of Sri Lankan politics, Dinesh Gunawardena, 73. earlier served as the foreign minister and education minister

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: July 22, 2022, 07:18 IST

Colombo

Senior politician Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday took over as Sri Lanka’s prime minister as President Ranil Wickremesinghe swore in his new Cabinet. A stalwart of Sri Lankan politics, Gunawardena, 73. earlier served as the foreign minister and education minister. He was appointed as Home Minister in April by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The prime minister’s post fell vacant after Wickremesinghe, 73, was on Thursday sworn in as the Read More

Jul 22, 2022 21:17 IST

US Expresses Concern Over Crackdown on Anti-government Protestors; Envoy Meets Wickremesinghe

The US on Friday denounced Sri Lankan security forces’ overnight crackdown on anti-government protestors as its envoy met newly-elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe and expressed grave concern over the unnecessary and deeply troubling” escalation of violence. Sri Lankan security forces raided the main anti-government protest camp at the President’s Secretariat, arresting nine people and injuring several others, as the protesters continued to occupy the sensitive area despite the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 20:52 IST

China's Xi Greets New Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Ranil Wickremesinghe on his election as Sri Lankan President and offered to provide support as his capacity allows to Colombo. In his message to Wickremesinghe, President Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Sri Lanka relations and would like to provide support and assistance as his capacity allows to Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan people, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying. Terming the two countries as each other’s traditional friendly neighbours since the establishment of diplomatic ties 65 years ago, he said both countries had set an example of friendly interactions and mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small countries.

Jul 22, 2022 19:32 IST

Sri Lanka: 18-member Cabinet Sworn In

The 18-member Cabinet was sworn in on President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s first day in office. Ali Sabry, who earlier headed the finance ministry, was appointed as the foreign minister. He has been chosen to be the foreign minister for his articulate skills and his ability to deal wit the international partners, including the International Monetary Fund, analysts said. Prime Minister Gunawardena, 73, has been given an additional portfolio of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government. The rest of the ministers were retained with their same portfolios while President Wickremesinghe continues to hold the crucial ministries of finance and defence.

Jul 22, 2022 19:09 IST

India Extended 8 Lines of Credit to Sri Lanka Worth $1850 Million: Govt

The government of India has extended 08 Lines of Credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka amounting to USD 1850.64 million in sectors including railways, infrastructure, defence, renewable energy, petroleum and fertilisers in the past 10 years, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

Jul 22, 2022 16:20 IST

Dinesh Gunawardena, Whose Parents Fought in India’s Freedom Struggle, Is Sri Lanka’s New Prime Minister

Seventy-two-year-old Dinesh Gunawardena is Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. The leader of the House in Parliament took oath as PM on Friday. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 14:46 IST

Dinesh Gunawardena's 18-member Cabinet Swears in

Apart from Prime Minister Gunawardena, there are 17 other ministers in the Cabinet. Ali Sabry, who earlier headed the finance ministry, was appointed as foreign minister. Prime minister Gunawardena has been given an additional portfolio of Public Administration Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government. The rest of the ministers were retained with their same portfolios while President Wickremesinghe continues to hold the ministry of finance.

Wickremesinghe said he was taking steps to form an all-party government to handle the island’s worst-ever economic crisis. The crisis and its public revolt ousted former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, paving way for Wickremesinghe to be appointed through Parliament for the rest of his term.

Jul 22, 2022 14:02 IST

Sri Lanka President Expected to Keep Finance Portfolio: Report

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to keep the finance portfolio and could also appoint a junior minister to help him out with the department’s work, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Jul 22, 2022 13:53 IST

India Extended 8 Lines of Credit Worth $1850.64 Mn to Sri Lanka in the Last 10 years

Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar told the Lok Sabha on Friday that India extended eight Lines of Credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka amounting to $1850.64 million in the last ten years. Jaishankar, while addressing parliamentarians during the ongoing monsoon session, said the aid was given to help Sri Lanka’s railways, infrastructure, defence, renewable energy, petroleum and fertilizer sectors and industries.

Jul 22, 2022 13:15 IST

Sri Lanka troops demolish main protest camp

Sri Lankan security forces demolished the main anti-government protest camp in the capital, evicting activists in a nighttime assault that raised international concern.

Troops and police Special Task Force commandos wielding batons and armed with automatic assault rifles swooped in on protesters blocking the Presidential Secretariat.

Hundreds of soldiers removed the demonstrators’ barricades outside the sea-front building, while the last remaining protesters on the premises — some still on the steps — were evicted.

The operation came hours before the country’s new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, swore in a new prime minister to try to manage the financial crisis that has crippled the economy and triggered months of protests.

Wickremesinghe himself was elected by legislators on Wednesday to replace Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to Singapore and resigned after demonstrators chased him from his palace.

The remaining protesters — far fewer than the thousands who overran several government buildings earlier this month — have been demanding Wickremesinghe also quit, accusing him of protecting the Rajapaksa clan who have dominated politics for much of the last two decades.

By morning, police commandos and soldiers armed with automatic assault rifles ringed the complex and the main roads leading to the area remained cordoned off.

Jul 22, 2022 12:02 IST

Top United Nations Official in Sri Lanka Calls for Inclusive Consultations to Resolve Economic Crisis

The top United Nations official in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy has called on all stakeholders in the country to engage in broad and inclusive consultations to resolve the current economic crisis and the grievances of the people, according to a senior official representing the UN chief.

Deputy Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Farhan Haq, said at the daily news briefing on Thursday that UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, “acknowledged the constitutional transfer of power to a new President”. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 11:14 IST

Roads to Galle Face Blocked Amid Crackdown on Protests

Sri Lankan media is reporting that roads to Galle Face, where a raid against protests had earlier taken place, have been blocked.

Jul 22, 2022 10:51 IST

Dinesh Gunawardena, Whose Parents Fought in India’s Freedom Struggle, Is Sri Lanka’s New Prime Minister

eventy-two-year-old Dinesh Gunawardena is Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. The leader of the House in Parliament took oath as PM on Friday.

He was the foreign affairs and education minister in the previous Gotabaya-Mahinda government.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is facing fierce public opposition to his elevation as the head of the nation may go for a national government if all political parties agree to join. If that happens, he might appoint a new prime minister later. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 10:40 IST

Sri Lanka: Veteran Politician Dinesh Gunawardena Appointed Country's New Prime Minister

Senior politician Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday took over as Sri Lanka’s prime minister as President Ranil Wickremesinghe swore in his new Cabinet. A stalwart of Sri Lankan politics, Gunawardena, 73. earlier served as the foreign minister and education minister. He was appointed as Home Minister in April by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The prime minister’s post fell vacant after Wickremesinghe, 73, was on Thursday sworn in as the country’s eighth president after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and then resigned as president. He has called for bipartisanship to address the unprecedented economic crisis the country is facing.

Jul 22, 2022 10:20 IST

Sri Lanka: Protesters Removed from Galle Face, Cops Secure Secretariat; Ranil Deploys Navy, Air Force

Sri Lankan army personnel cleared the Galle seafront protest site on Friday and took control of the presidential secretariat. The clampdown on the protesters began around Friday midnight after a joint operation was launched by the police and the Sri Lankan army. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 10:07 IST

Bar Association of Sri Lanka Condemns Use of Force

Several lawyers have informed me of an attack on protestors at the Galle Face near the Presidential Secretariat. Whilst the details are sketchy, I am also told that several people including Nuwan Bopege AAL have been arrested. I am also been told of people having been assaulted. The authorities must ensure the safety of everyone and their whereabouts must be made known. I have tried to contact the IGP and also messaged the Army Commander. Unnecessary use of brute force will not help this country and its international image: Message from Saliya Pieris, Bar Association of Sri Lanka as reported by News Wire.

Jul 22, 2022 09:52 IST

After Raids, Protesters Say Ranil Planning 'State Oppression'

Sources said Ranil Wickremesinghe has deployed Army, Navy and Airforce to maintain law and order across Sri Lanka. He has asked protestors to leave the PM and President’s office and bungalow. Aragalaya, which is an unofficial term for the current protesters’ movement, has alleged Ranil is planning a brutal State repression to end protests. However, President Ranil has said the ‘economy is the top priority and rest can wait’.

Jul 22, 2022 09:13 IST

OPINION | China Missing, West Falls Short as India Stands By Sri Lanka in its Darkest Hour

With China and the West paying mere lip service to the crisis-hit nation island nation, Sri Lanka finds itself receiving concrete financial support from no one but India. As foreign investments dried out, India emerged as the top lender to Sri Lanka, with assistance worth $3.8 billion during the course of this financial crisis in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, assistance from China or even for that matter, the West, whose investments in Sri Lanka make up a large part of Sri Lanka’s external debt burden today, dwarves in comparison to the credit timely extended by India to Sri Lanka to pull it out of the crippling balance of payments crisis which has thrown the entire nation into financial mayhem and political chaos. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 09:08 IST

Sri Lanka's Crisis, Yemen's 'Hunger' and Taliban Repercussions: Italy Not Alone in Its Political Pasta

In a world that is constantly shifting realities amid an ongoing pandemic, Italy’s story is not just its own. There are a number of other countries facing some sort of crisis. READ MORE

Jul 22, 2022 09:07 IST

Ranil Clamps Down on Protests After Oath

Wickremesinghe, who was sworn in as the eighth President of Sri Lanka on Thursday, said last night that the occupation of government buildings was illegal, warning that legal action would be taken against their occupiers. The new president said he would extend support to the peaceful protesters but would be tough on those who try to promote violence under the guise of peaceful protests.

The main protest group which blocked entry to the President’s Office since April 9, said they would continue their struggle till Wickremesinghe resigned. Our victory would come only when we are able to form the people’s Assembly,” Lahiru Weerasekera, a group spokesman said.

Jul 22, 2022 09:06 IST

Sri Lanka Police Arrest 9 After Raid

Sri Lanka police on Friday arrested nine people after troops raided a protest camp, Reuters quoted a police spokesperson as saying.

Hundreds of security personnel surrounded the “Gota Go Gama” protest camp, mockingly named after the former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, past midnight and then took apart a section of it, the two organisers said. At least 50 protesters were injured, Reuters quoted organisers as saying. The injured also reportedly included some journalists who were beaten by security forces.

country’s eighth president after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and then resigned as president. He has called for bipartisanship to address the unprecedented economic crisis the country is facing.

Sri Lankan security forces on Friday removed a group of anti-government protesters, which continued to occupy the President’s Secretariat here despite Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation as president, after veteran politician Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the country’s new head of state. Anti-government protesters returned to Colombo on Wednesday after Parliament voted in six-time Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as the country’s new president.

The protestors refused to accept Wickremesinghe, 73, as the new president, holding him partly responsible for the country’s unprecedented economic and political crisis. Police and special task force personnel forced them out on Friday when less than 100 of them were present. The protesters had vacated the President and Prime Minister’s residences and the Prime Minister’s office earlier after capturing them on July 9, they were still occupying some rooms of the President’s secretariat at the Galle Face.

The top UN official in Sri Lanka has called on all stakeholders in the country to engage in broad and inclusive consultations to resolve the current economic crisis and the grievances of the people, according to a senior official representing the UN chief. Deputy Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Farhan Haq, said at the daily news briefing here on Thursday that UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, “acknowledged the constitutional transfer of power to a new President.”

US Ambassador to Colombo Julie Chun on Friday expressed concern over actions taken by Sri Lankan authorities at the protest site in the middle of the night. “Deeply concerned about actions taken against protestors at Galle Face in the middle of the night. We urge restraint by authorities & immediate access to medical attention for those injured,” she said in a tweet.

Sri Lanka police on Friday arrested nine people after troops raided a protest camp, Reuters quoted a police spokesperson as saying.

Hundreds of security personnel surrounded the “Gota Go Gama” protest camp, mockingly named after the former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, past midnight and then took apart a section of it, the two organisers said. At least 50 protesters were injured, Reuters quoted organisers as saying. The injured also reportedly included some journalists who were beaten by security forces.

“Very concerned about reports from the Galle Face protest site,” Sarah Hulton, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, said in a tweet. Tents of protestors being dismantled by the armed security personnel amid a late-night clampdown outside the premises of the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

Armed soldiers were deployed in a bid to control the protestors, who’ve been protesting against the new Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, outside the premises of the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

Heavy deployment of armed soldiers outside the premises of the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

Wickremesinghe, who was sworn in as the eighth President of Sri Lanka on Thursday, said last night that the occupation of government buildings was illegal, warning that legal action would be taken against their occupiers. The new president said he would extend support to the peaceful protesters but would be tough on those who try to promote violence under the guise of peaceful protests.

The main protest group which blocked entry to the President’s Office since April 9, said they would continue their struggle till Wickremesinghe resigned. Our victory would come only when we are able to form the people’s Assembly,” Lahiru Weerasekera, a group spokesman said.

The protesters, who had been at the Secretariat’s gate since April 9 when they started their anti-government protest which resulted in Rajapaksa’s resignation as president last week, posted on social media on Thursday that they were planning to end their protest by 2 pm on Friday. There was a debate that we should respect the Constitution and stop this protest,” said a spokesman of the group.

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