On Tuesday, November 20, the United National Party (UNP) opposition party announced the beginning of an indefinite non-violent “civil disobedience campaign” (Satyagraha) to take place from Wednesday at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in the capital Colombo. Associated protests will also be held on November 27 in Kandy (Central province) and Kalutara (Western province), and on December 3 in Colombo.
Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations and gatherings. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out, though so far protests have been peaceful.
The political crisis was prompted by the dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cabinet after President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party left the majority coalition on October 26. The move, viewed by the opposition as unconstitutional, led to the suspension, and later dissolution on November 9 of the parliament. President Sirisena had appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as interim prime minister, a move that Wickremesinghe, and later the Supreme Court, declared illegal.
The decision to dissolve the Parliament was overturned by the Supreme Court on November 13. The government lost two votes of no confidence carried out by the parliament but refuses to resign. Parliament sessions are repeatedly adjourned.
Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo, are advised to keep abreast of the domestic political climate, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, refrain from discussing political subjects in public, and avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.
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