Protestors in Battaramulla turned away a Sinhala Buddhist monk who leads the nationalist Janasetha Peramuna party, with one man telling him "it is because of the people like you, we suffer today like this".
Battaramulla Seelarathan had attempted to join the protest, one of many anti-government demonstrations that currently taking place across the island.
However, as he tried to join and speak at the protestors, angry demonstrators refused to give him permission and told him to leave. The monk was eventually forced to walk away and get into a vehicle to leave the demonstration.
Seelarathan has a controversial history, having previously been a stauncher backer of the Rajapaksa regime.
In 2010, he threw his weight behind the Rajapaksas, stating the presidential election was a “day to show your gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who saved this country from cruel terrorism” as he pledged to support him “unconditionally”.
In 2015, he even invited Mahinda Rajapaksa to take up the leadership of his Janasetha Peramuna party.
In 2019, he visited Sinhala settlers in the North, as he campaigned against the Tamil National Alliance and called on the military to remain in the region.
And in 2020, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, Seelarathan claimed that “without the Maha Sangha this country would have gone to the gutters”.
“Some politicians have also gone to the extent of saying that this is not a Buddhist country,” he added. “So while protecting the Dhamma we need to protect the country as well.”