Featured image courtesy Reuters
On November 16, a 3 day long standoff between the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and the United National Front, the Tamil National Alliance and the JVP turned violent.
In an unprecedented move, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya had to enter Parliament surrounded by policemen who formed a shield around him. This series of tweets by Dharisha Bastians describes the proceedings as they occurred.
At 2.20PM when the side doors to the Chamber opened, about 30 police officials entered in a human chain, forming a barricade around the Sergeant at Arms who held tight to the Mace, the symbol of an official session of Parliament. The Speaker walked in behind the Mace.
— dharisha (@tingilye) November 16, 2018
Since the events of October 26, when President Sirisena swore in Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister in what is being termed a “constitutional coup”, Parliamentary proceedings have been in a state of limbo.
Following the issuing of a stay order by the Supreme Court, Parliament convened on November 14, for the first time in over two weeks, following what has been widely termed as a “constitutional coup”. For two consecutive sittings, the Government attempted to pass a no confidence motion against Rajapaksa, who took the Prime Minister’s seat.
On November 14, a free-for-all erupted on the floor of the House with MPs trading blows. A bin and a copy of the Constitution were hurled at the Speaker.
Parliament adjourned, but not before the Speaker attempted to take a voice vote on the No Confidence Motion. A memo signed by all those supporting the motion was handed over to the President. However, he rejected the motion on the grounds that procedure wasn’t followed.
It is now learned that President Sirisena has, once again, rejected the No Confidence Motion passed against Rajapaksa on the same grounds – despite a party leader’s meeting during which a clause from the memo was deleted.
Almost immediately, people began voicing their opposition to the proceedings in Parliament.
We’ve captured some of the reactions in a Twitter moment. Access it here, or scroll below.