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06 Nov 2018 | 04:22 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Further nationwide protests November 8-9 /update 6

Further protests to be held November 8-9 in Colombo and elsewhere amid political crisis; parliament session postponed to November 14

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Event

Further protests will be held in the coming days in the capital Colombo and throughout the rest of the country amid an ongoing political crisis. A protest called by the United National Party (UNP) is set to take place on Thursday, November 8, to demand the parliament be convened immediately; however, a parliament session initially scheduled to take place on November 7 has been postponed to November 14.

On a related note, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party is also calling for protests to take place on Friday, November 9, throughout the country to denounce the recent dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; no further details are yet available.

Finally, gatherings organized by civil society groups are being held daily at the Liberty Roundabout in the capital from 16:30 to 18:30 (local time) until a parliamentary session is convened. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations and gatherings.

Context

The political crisis was prompted by the dismissal of Wickremesinghe and his cabinet after President Maithripala Sirisena's party left the majority coalition on October 26. The move, viewed by the opposition as unconstitutional, resulted in the suspension of the parliament. President Sirisena immediately appointed former president Rajapaksa as prime minister, a move that Wickremesinghe declared illegal. Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa are attempting to shore up support among legislators ahead of the reconvention of parliament and a leadership vote.

On November 5, thousands of Sirisena’s supporters gathered in Colombo outside of the parliament building as the president gave a speech in support of Rajapaksa. Meanwhile, the house speaker stated that the parliament would not accept Rajapaksa as prime minister until his majority can be proven in parliament.

Advice

Individuals present in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo, are advised to keep abreast of the domestic political climate, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.

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