Sri Lankan president mobilises military with orders to shoot on sight | #socialmedia

Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse addressed the nation yesterday evening after mobilising the military throughout the country with orders to “strictly enforce the law against rioters” and to shoot on sight.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa [Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena]

Referring to the thug attack on anti-government protesters in Colombo on Monday, Rajapakse hypocritically condemned the “unfortunate situation” and said police has been instructed to initiate a full investigation.

The attack was orchestrated by the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna as the pretext for the imposition of police-state measures. After being addressed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, hundreds of SLPP goons, armed with clubs and sticks, were unleashed against anti-government demonstrators outside his official residence and then on protesters who had occupied Galle Face Green in central Colombo for about a month.

The extensive nationwide protests demanding President Rajapakse and his government resign have been fuelled by a social disaster created by huge price increases, acute shortages of essential food, medicines, fuel and lengthy daily power cuts.

In his national address, Rajapakse focused on the violent clashes that erupted outside the houses of SLPP ministers and parliamentarians across the country after that attack on Galle Face Green protesters. Houses were set on fire and several people died in the clashes.

As the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) warned in a statement on May 10, these clashes have played directly into the hands of Rajapakse and the state apparatus. The president declared that soldiers from the three branches of the armed forces and the police “have been ordered to strictly enforce the law against the rioters.”

Rajapakse had already declared a state of emergency last Friday after a massive one-day general strike and business closures shut down the country’s economy and sent a shudder of fear through the ruling class. The state of emergency gives the president extensive powers to deploy armed forces with powers, arrest people without warrant, ban strikes, protests and meetings, impose curfews and media censorship, and proscribe political parties.

The island-wide deployment of the military yesterday is reminiscent of the reactionary 26-year communal war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In Colombo, armoured vehicles and soldiers on motorcycles are patrolling the streets. Heavily-armed soldiers are manning checkpoints complete with barricades to stop and search vehicles and people.

Heavily-armed soldiers and military vehicle in Colombo enforcing curfew. [Image: Facebook]

In every part of the country, military personnel have set up checkpoints at the entrances to all major towns and at strategic points along highways.

The presidential media division has announced that the round-the-clock curfew imposed on Monday will be lifted at 7 am today, but only for seven hours and will remain in place until Friday morning.

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