Sri Lanka: Forces raid anti-government protest camp

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Security forces in Sri Lanka raided the main anti-government protest camp in the capital early on Friday, arresting protesters and dismantling tents.

Hundreds of troops and police commandos moved on the protesters outside the presidential offices in Colombo, hours before they were due to leave the area.

A video journalist was beaten by the army and one soldier snatched his phone and deleted videos.

Nine people, including two who are injured, have been arrested by police.

Police described the incident as a “special operation to take [back] control of the presidential secretariat”.

It comes as Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as president on Thursday, after ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country last week.

Mr Wickremesinghe – the former prime minister – is seen as deeply unpopular with the public and has vowed tough action against demonstrators.

Separately on Friday, Dinesh Gunawardena – a senior politician considered to be a long-time Rajapaksa loyalist – took the oath as new prime minister, stepping into Mr Wickremesinghe’s former shoes.

Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over an economic crisis and many blame the former government for mishandling the nation’s finances.

Agencies

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