Human Rights Watch says government crackdown ‘sends a dangerous message to people’ while Amnesty calls it ‘shameful’.International human rights groups have urged Sri Lanka’s new president to immediately order security forces to cease all unlawful use of force against protesters, who have been demonstrating over the country’s economic meltdown.
Armed troops and police arrived in trucks and buses on Friday to clear the main protest camp near the president’s official residence in the capital, Colombo, a day after President Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in.
Even though protesters had announced they would vacate the site voluntarily after staging a sit-in for more than 100 days, the troops moved in and started attacking demonstrators with batons and removing tents and blocks along the roads leading to the President’s House.
Security forces arrested 11 people, including protesters and lawyers. Two journalists and two lawyers were also attacked by soldiers in the crackdown.
Human Rights Watch said the incident “sends a dangerous message to the Sri Lankan people that the new government intends to act through brute force rather than the rule of law”.
“Urgently needed measures to address the economic needs of Sri Lankans demand a government that respects fundamental rights,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Saturday.
“Sri Lanka’s international partners should send the message loud and clear that they can’t support an administration that tramples on the rights of its people,” she added.
#SriLanka security forces forcibly disperse peaceful protest site, assault protesters. President @RW_UNP should cease al …