A Sri Lankan court was moved on Friday to direct the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to immediately arrest former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and six others on charges of alleged criminal intimidation and aiding and abetting attacks on peaceful anti-government protesters here this week, according to media outlets. The personal complaint has been submitted to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court where the attacks on peaceful protesters outside the Prime Minister’s residence and near the Galle Face were cited, the Daily Mirror Lanka reports.
The demonstrators, who were attacked by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters, were demanding the ruling leadership to resign and to take responsibility for the unprecedented economic crisis afflicting the country. Fort Colombo Judge Fort Thilina Gamage has ordered the petition to be taken to the Colombo Main Magistrate’s Court on May 17. The complaint was filed by attorney Senaka Pereira.
The petition calls for the arrest of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, MPs Johnston Fernando, Sanghwa Idiriman, Sanat Nichantha, Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando, senior police officials Deshabandhu Tinakon and Chandana Wickrematni.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The reason for this crisis is partly a shortage of foreign currency, which means the country cannot afford imports of basic foodstuffs and fuel, which has led to a severe shortage and high prices.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda, as government funds for vital imports ran out. Mahinda resigned as prime minister on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy army forces in the capital.
The attack sparked widespread violence against politicians loyal to Rajapaksa. At least 9 people died with more than 200 taken to hospital. About 58 of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s colleagues in the government witnessed arson attacks on their personal property. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has served as prime minister three times, witnessed the fire at his residence on Monday. Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with his wife and family, escaped from his official residence – Temple Trees – and took refuge at the naval base in Trincomalee.
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