Sri Lankan President vows military crackdown on any new Aragalaya – by Zulfick Farzan
Source : newsfirst
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Wednesday (23) that he would not dissolve the house until stability returns to the country and vowed not to allow another Aragalaya to change the country’s government. He said he would deploy the military and use emergency powers if necessary.
The President accused the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) and its leader Kumar Gunaratnam of being responsible for the attempt to capture parliament on the 13th of July 2022. “After doing so, they would have gone on to capture the Supreme Court,” he said while blaming the FSP for orchestrating the chaos.
President Wickremesinghe added that any attempts to create another Aragalaya (struggle) without permits for protests will be prevented, and the police have been instructed to take action to prevent such protests.
“The military will be deployed. Emergency Law will be enforced. Another Aragalaya will not be allowed,” said the President. However, paradoxically, he said that he would not behave in the manner of South Vietnam’s highly unpopular late President Dinh Diem, whose violent crackdown on opposition to his government led to his party becoming increasingly alienated by the population.
The President declared that the public no longer supports the Aragalaya and public protests, and went on to note that the Aragalaya is being hyped by the media. He added that he will appoint a commission to investigate the alleged media involvement in the Aragalaya and what led to chaos in the country.
He also told the house that differences in opinion in the house should not lead to the deaths of MPs, such as that which took place during the recent unrest. He condemned the destruction of property of MPs during the unrest.
“These MPs did not fall from the sky. There are good and bad MPs, and 196 of them were elected by the people. They need to be protected. On the 9th of July the President was chased away, and they ransacked the President’s House. Then they occupied the President’s office,” said the President.
He said that his own residence was torched because he refused to step down, and questioned why he should when he commanded a majority in Parliament.
Commenting on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and on calls for Basil Rajapaksa, a dual citizen, to be barred from parliament, the President questioned how the Frontline Socialist Party could be against dual citizenship when its own leader is himself a dual citizen in Sri Lanka and Australia.