Colombo, July 14 (UNI) The Sri Lankan military on Thursday issued its first serious warning to anti-government protesters in Colombo, asking them to desist from “all forms of violence immediately or be prepared to face consequences”.
It said in a statement that the armed forces “are legitimately empowered to exercise their force, if the situation deems necessary, as security to the public property, key installations, vulnerable points and human lives does fall within the purview of their responsibility”.
The statement also came a day after violent protesters seized the Prime Minister’s office in Colombo and tried the same tactics with the Parliament building, only to be beaten back by security forces. Unidentified protesters attacked and seriously wounded two soldiers and escaped with their T-56 assault rifles.
It said the Chief of the Defence Staff, the commanders of the three wings of the military and the Inspector General of Police had on more than three occasions publicly appealed to the protesting groups to remain calm and to resolve the issues constitutionally.
It said some protesters tried to forcibly enter the Parliament complex and attacked the troops on duty with clubs, iron rods, stones and helmets and snatched two T-56 weapons with ammunition round. They also injured a dozen army personnel, making two of them even unconscious.
It said that the armed forces were legitimately empowered to exercise force if the situation deems necessary.