Over 69,000 Sri Lankan police officers have been deployed for election duties today, whilst it was announced that military personnel will be deployed in the Northern and Eastern provinces as parliamentary polls opened this morning.
Senior Deputy Inspector General in charge of elections, Priyantha Weerasuriya, told reporters this week that “military personnel will be stationed in places where the police had been stationed as the police personnel will be assigned for election duties".
There have already been 317 arrests related to the 2020 parliamentary election so far.
“All the mobile units and riot police and other police personnel have been readied in order to face any incident during the election. In order to address the shortage of police personnel we have also assigned between 10,000 to 12,000 Civil Security Department personnel,” Weerasuriya said.
This move, made under the guise of public safety during the election period, is another in the governments’ increased policing and militarization of civilian activities. Candidates in the North have complained of military harassment already, and the targeting of military personnel to the Northern and Eastern provinces comes amidst increased militarization of the Tamil homeland.