Sri Lanka Crisis: Army Denies Speculations That It Will Crush Protests, Vows To Safeguard Constitution
Posted on April 16th, 2022

Courtesy Outlook

The Sri Lankan Army also denied speculation that soldiers were undergoing training to assault protesters. 

Following speculations on social media that military might be roped in to crush ongoing anti-government protests in the country, the Sri Lankan Army on Saturday said they would not be part of a crackdown on protests and would not resort to any violence.

The army said in a statement that they would thoroughly uphold the Constitution. It went on to deny speculation that soldiers were undergoing training to assault protesters. 

The statement said, “Troops, as everyone witnessed in the past few days, have not at all interfered with any of those peaceful protesters or organisations, nor have they acted against the interests of the state as disciplined members of an organisation which brought peace to this country through immense and invaluable sacrifices.”

The Army’s statement came after former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka commented that the troops must not obey illegal orders inferring a crackdown on the protesters. Stressing that the Army must rethink “before acting on unlawful orders”, Fonseka in an address to Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva and Kamal Gunaratne – top bureaucrat of the Defence Ministry, had said the troops must not obey any illegal order.

Fonseka, who was promoted to the rank of field marshal for commanding the Army to victory over the LTTE in 2009, had both Silva and Gunaratne serving under him.

Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst financial crisis and the government is facing intense protests from the people, which entered its eighth day on Saturday. The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as well as of the entire Rajapaksa family in the wake of the poor handling of the ongoing crisis.

Sri Lanka is facing an acute shortage of foreign exchange, which led to the country’s default on external debt of $51 billion earlier this week.

There is also shortage of foodstuff, cooking gas, and vehicular fuel. Prices of all commoditties, including essential food items, have also skyrocketed in the ongoing crisis.

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