Agitated by price hikes, shortages of essential items, and lengthy power cuts, the public without the backing of any political parties, has resorted to taking to the streets in numbers to express their anger at the present administration’s handling of the economy and the country in general.
A group of protesters who gathered at the Jubilee Post Junction around 7:30 last night decided to proceed towards the private residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and blocked the Pengiriwatte Road, which leads to the residence. Protests have been a regular occurrence in recent days with several political parties and civil society groups also holding demonstrations in Colombo and across Sri Lanka.
NewsRadio correspondent reported that protesters chanted slogans ‘Go Home Gota’, ‘Gota Go Home’, with the number of protesters seeing a gradual increase by the minute that led to the 119 Maharagama-Nugegoda route being completely closed off for vehicular movement. Protesters also attempted to topple the Police barricades that were set up at the top of Pengiriwatte Road leading to a heated situation with clashes breaking out between protesters and law enforcement officers.
Subsequently, Special Task Force personnel were called in while water cannons and tear gas were used to control the protesters. NewsRadio correspondents confirmed that some protesters were seen lying along the roads to prevent the water cannons from approaching them.
Protesters were unrelenting breaking walls and using bricks to hurl them at a Sri Lanka Army bus that was later set on fire. The bus was parked, blocking the entrance to the Pengiriwatte Road.
The attack on the Sri Lanka Army bus resulted in several other vehicles nearby being damaged. Meanwhile, the power supply to Mirihana was disrupted during the protest and returned shortly.
A large number of people took to social media at the time to complain over broadband connections in the area being disrupted. Several individuals sustained injuries in the unrest and were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital and the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital.
Among the injured were journalists and several Police officers who were at the scene. However, the situation has since been brought under control while the Police said a peaceful environment prevails in Mirihana.
The Colombo-Kandy Road in Dalugama, Kelaniya was obstructed last night due to another protest by a group blocking the Colombo-Kandy Road. The protesters burnt tires on the road demanding a solution to the country’s prevalent crisis.