Brawl in Sri Lankan Parliament

Sri lanka Parliament

Source: The Guardian

The Thursday morning session of the Sri Lanka Parliament  concluded with physical clashes, putting one in hospital and injuring several MP’s.

Waste paper baskets were hurled at the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by an MP supporting Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa while objecting the Speakers action.

Refusing a vote on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech, group of Joint opposition (JO) MPs march towards the Speaker’s chair, chanting slogans meaning “blatant rogue” etc. In response, some United National Party (UNP) MPs run towards the chair.

MP Dilum Amunugama was admitted to the hospital after the fiery sitting, which was abandoned after supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s disputed prime minister, rushed at the parliament’s speaker.

The speaker was surrounded by MPs loyal to Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was controversially dismissed from the prime ministership, a fortnight ago and replaced with Rajapaksa in what his supporters say was a political coup.

“I have seen many turbulent situations in the House, but I have never seen this sort of outright assault on the Speaker,” said Senior Lobby Correspondent Chandani Kirinde, who has over two decades’ experience covering Lankan Parliament.

The men, most dressed in white cotton robes, pushed and jostled each other. Some could also be seen throwing punches. When a few fell, others could be seen kicking them.

 

“United People’s Freedom Alliance MP Udaya Gammanpila claims 2 United National Party MPs had knifes, but says he has not seen evidence yet. Photographers in Parliament confirm UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma had an object in his hand,” said a tweet by BBC reporter Azzam Ameen.

Amunugama, a Rajapaksa loyalist, was cut as he tried to take the speaker’s microphone.

The speaker, Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe all eventually left the chamber as the fighting continued.

On Wednesday, MPs had passed a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa, who was hastily installed in office last month instead of Ranil Wickremesinghe by the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena.

“According to the no-confidence vote held yesterday, there is no prime minister or cabinet of ministers as of now as all those posts are invalidated by the vote,” Jayasuriya told parliament.