No shot-at-sight order issued during protests: Sri Lankan PM

No shot-at-sight order issued during protests: Sri Lankan PM

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence. (File)


Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament on Thursday that the defense ministry had not been ordered to shoot amid violent anti-government protests in the island nation.

On May 10, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense ordered the army, air force and navy personnel to open fire to loot public property or harm others during violent protests across the island over the unprecedented economic and political crisis.

The order came after mobs continued to raid property belonging to families and their relatives in Rajapaksa. The attack on property belonging to people close to former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa came as his supporters attacked anti-government protesters in Colombo.

Mr Vikramasinghe said no such order had been issued in writing, the Colombo Gazette News Portal reported.

The prime minister said the police could use their discretion and shoot if necessary, but there was a way to follow.

He said that during the attack on the property of some members of parliament last week, no shooting order was issued.

The Defense Ministry, however, announced last week that firing orders had been issued to prevent further violence.

Police and military forces were deployed in Colombo and other parts of the country after the violence was spread after the attack on peaceful protesters in Galle, located at the Presidential Secretariat.

More than eight people have been killed in unprecedented violence since supporters of then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked anti-government protesters here.

More than 250 people were injured in the violence in Colombo and other parts of the country.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.

The crisis is partly caused by a lack of foreign exchange, which means the country cannot afford to import major food and fuel, leading to sharp deficits and very high prices.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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