Sri Lanka court bans ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, allies from leaving country

The magistrate in the capital Colombo also asked police to investigate Monday’s mob attacks on peaceful protesters, which led to retaliatory violence that claimed nine lives and caused widespread destruction

Sri Lanka court bans ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, allies from leaving country

File photo of ex Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. AP

The magistrate in the capital Colombo also asked police to investigate Monday’s mob attacks on peaceful protesters, which led to retaliatory violence that claimed nine lives and caused widespread destruction, news agency AFP said in a report.

President to announce new PM, Cabinet

According to a report by AFP, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was set Thursday to name a new prime minister, hoping to assemble a unity government after weeks of anti-government protests triggered by a dire economic crisis turned violent.

However, while the mooted new prime minister — five-times ex-premier Ranil Wickremesinghe — and his cabinet can be appointed without a vote, it was unclear if he will be able to get any legislation through parliament.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday night, Rajapaksa stopped short of yielding to weeks of nationwide protests calling for him to resign over the country’s worst economic downturn since independence, AFP said.

But in a bid to win over the opposition demanding he quit before agreeing to any new government, the 72-year-old pledged to give up most of his executive powers and set up a new cabinet this week.

“I will name a prime minister who will command a majority in parliament and the confidence of the people,” Rajapaksa said in the televised speech.

Violent clashes

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s brother, resigned as prime minister on Monday after his supporters attacked anti-government supporters who had been protesting peacefully for weeks.

This marked a turning point and unleashed several days of chaos and violence that killed at least nine people and injured more than 200, with dozens of Rajapaksa loyalist homes set on fire, AFP said in a report.

Security forces patrolling in armoured personnel carriers with orders to shoot on sight anyone engaged in looting or violence have since largely restored order.

As per AFP, a curfew was lifted Thursday morning but only to be reimposed after a six-hour break allowing Sri Lanka’s 22 million people to stock up on essentials.

With inputs from AFP

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