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Sri Lanka’s Galle Face demonstrators move court against eviction from protest site

A file photo of the protests that captured the world's imagination (Photo: Twitter)

Many people at the Galle Face protest site have approached the court of appeal requesting it to stop the police from evicting them. Located near the Sri Lankan presidential office, Galle Face has been occupied by the anti-government 'Gota Go Gama' protestors.

The protestors filed four petitions after the police asked them to vacate the site by Friday evening. Sri Lankan newspaper The Island reported that the petitioners told the court that eviction orders by the police violate their constitutional rights.

President Ranil Wickremasinghe asked the protestors to abandon the protests in July as their main demand that the powerful Rajapaksa brothers-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, should quit has been met. He added that the protests which were initially people-led have been taken over by "fascists" and "extremists".

Though Wickremasinghe was elected by the parliament through a secret vote, he remains unpopular among the masses, many of whom feel that he has been placed in the position by the Rajapaksas. Continuing protests mean that he too faces opposition like the previous unpopular regime.

The anti-government protests in Sri Lanka now complete four months after starting in the second week of April to protest the economic hardships–shortage of food and fuel, rise in prices of essential commodities and their inability to run daily lives.

The protests led to arson and violence, culminating in the storming of the prime ministerial and the presidential homes. Both–Mahinda and Rajapaksa–had to flee, resulting in a change of government. Fearing for life from the harried agitators, Gotabaya fled to Maldives and then to Singapore while a court restrained Mahinda from leaving the country.

After the elections of Wickremasinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, the protestors continued with their agitation, making Galle Face a permanent protest site with tents, camps and semi-built structures.

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