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War criminals join Go Home Gota protest

Amidst ongoing protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, war criminals, formerly aligned with the President, have switched alliances and joined the protests.

Amongst the military and police officers are retired major general Nisshyanka Ranawana, commander of Sri Lanka’s notorious 57th division during the final stage of the armed conflict, and retired general Aruna Jayasekara, commander of the 3rd contingent to Haiti during Sri Lanka’s peacekeeping operation.

During the final stages of the armed conflict detailed evidence shows the indiscriminate shelling of hospitals, mass execution of civilians, and the use of sexual violence by soldiers. Sri Lanka’s peacekeeping operation in Haiti is similarly marred with egregious human rights violations. In 2017, the Associated Press revealed that at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeeping forces were involved in the exploitation of children in a sex ring in Haiti. This was during a UN peacekeeping operation from 2004 to 2007.

On 9 May, violence broke out across Sri Lanka as anti-government demonstrators clashed with Rajapaksa supporters. The homes of more than 50 government-aligned MPs were set alight during the violence.  

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