Sri Lankan Police fire tear gas to prevent protestors from entering PM's office

Colombo, July 13 (IANS) Sri Lankan Police have fired more volleys of teargas on the protesting crowd outside the Prime Minister's office in a bid to drive them back.
 
Sri Lankan Police fire tear gas to prevent protestors from entering PM's office

Colombo, July 13 (IANS) Sri Lankan Police have fired more volleys of teargas on the protesting crowd outside the Prime Minister's office in a bid to drive them back.

The avenue is wreathed in smoke. People are running, trying to escape the gas. Those hit are dousing themselves with water and coughing, the BBC reported.

"Soldiers are still holding down the fort. Perched on the building's gates, they're even dumping water on protesters to help those struggling to breathe."

There is tense situation outside Prime Minister's Office as police and military personnel started shooting in air after heavy tear gas attack, the BBC reported.

Sri Lankan protesters are staying defiant in the face of a nationwide curfew imposed by the Prime Minister's office on Wednesday.

"Our country is facing an extreme economic crisis," a 31-year-old protester Viraga Perera told the BBC.

"The people here are here so they can have a vote for the future," he said from Galle Face Green, which has been the site of multiple mass protests against the Rajapaksa administration.

"This kind of behaviour, of sending helicopters that are armed around the people who are gathered here peacefully, sends a clear signal to deter peaceful protests against the current regime," he added, referring to the military helicopters that have been flying low over the heads of protesters gathered there.

"We will not stand by this," he said.

"We will keep coming, we will keep fighting until we have some assurance that we and our children have some future in this country."

--IANS

int/susitha/khz/