Protests in Sri Lanka, calls on president to open parliament

COLOMBO. — Tens of thousands of people gathered in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on Tuesday to urge President Maithripala Sirisena to convene parliament.

The protest which the police termed as “peaceful”, begun on Tuesday afternoon with the participation of “ousted” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and legislators from his United National Party (UNP).

Protesters shouted slogans urging the president to pave way for a democratically-elected government and convene parliament immediately.

Wickremesinghe, addressing the gathering from outside the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, said the country was against his sacking and urged Sirisena to end the political crisis.

Wickremesinghe was sacked by Sirisena last Friday after which former president Mahinda Rajapakse was appointed to the post.

A new caretaker government with Rajapakse being the new PM was also formed on Monday night.

Wickremesinghe has called his sacking “unconstitutional” and called for Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya to convene parliament so he could prove his majority in the House.

Sirisena has prorogued parliament till November 16.

Over 2000 police personnel were deployed across the capital since Tuesday morning while the police had also obtained a court order preventing the protesters from inconveniencing the public and barring them from entering state institutions.

Jaysuriya said earlier on Tuesday that he would request Sirisena to summon parliament to end the political crisis. – Xinhua