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Sri Lanka: Protesters demand arrest of ex PM Mahinda Rajapaksa over attack

Sri Lanka: Protesters demand arrest of ex PM Mahinda Rajapaksa over attack

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A group of protestor camped outside Ranil Wickremesinghe's official PM house on Friday, demanding that Mahinda Rajapaksa be detained.

According to the report, ten residents claimed that they do not trust Wickremesinghe, a former five-time Prime Minister, because of his ties to the Rajapaksa family. "If he is genuinely on the side of the people, he should have Mahinda Rajapaksa arrested," said Wimal Jayasuriya, a 43-year-old teacher and protester. "If he doesn't arrest him, then he has to get ready to go."

Jayasuriya and the others claimed they were among the protesters beaten with metal and wooden sticks by Rajapaksa supporters leaving the prime minister's residence after a meeting with him on Monday.

Thousands of people have joined weeks of protests outside the president's and prime minister's homes, demanding for their resignations due to the country's economic difficulties.

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family have taken refuge at a guarded naval base in Trincomalee, on Sri Lanka's northeastern coast. Until an investigation into the attack on the protesters is completed, a court issued travel restrictions against him, his former Cabinet minister son, and 15 others, including other former ministers.

Some politicians and religious leaders have spoken out against Wickremesinghe's appointment, claiming he is part of a corrupt system that needs to be changed.

After Mahinda Rajapaksa lost a presidential election in 2015, Wickremesinghe was accused of protecting the Rajapaksa family from charges of corruption and other crimes while serving as Prime Minister from 2015 to 2019.

The government's inability to pay for essential food and fuel imports due to a lack of foreign currency has exacerbated Sri Lanka's economic crisis, resulting in acute shortages and high costs. The situation has sparked widespread riots asking for political reform and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation.