New Delhi: Sri Lankan authorities have issued shoot-on-sight orders to quell unrest that has seen buildings and vehicles set ablaze a day after the island was rocked by deadly violence and rioting.
With thousands of security forces enforcing a curfew, the defense ministry said troops “have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone looting public property or causing harm to life”.
Beginning this week, government supporters with sticks and clubs attacked demonstrators in Colombo protesting peacefully for weeks over a dire economic crisis and demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Eight people, including a politician from the ruling party, a police officer, and civilians, have been killed since violence broke out on May 9, while as many as 219 injured persons are undergoing treatments at government hospitals.
Secretary in the Defense Ministry, Kamal Gunaratne, said that 60 vehicles, including buses and jeeps, have been torched and over 40 vehicles have been damaged since May 9.
The angry mob attacked the houses of ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, and elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa on May 10, while properties of many ministers, MPs, and local politicians of the ruling party were torched.
The mob also destroyed a museum built in the memory of the President’s parents. Sri Lanka, which is reeling under a severe economic crisis, is now going through a political catastrophe as well. The protesters have demanded the resignation of the President and his Cabinet.