Opposition activists loyal to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa plan to stay overnight in Colombo after staging protests on Wednesday, party sources said.
The Joint Opposition rally spearheaded by Rajapaksa’s legislator son Namal hope to bring 200,000 supporters to Colombo in what they promise will be a show of force greater than their May Day demonstration at Galle Face.
The organisers have not disclosed details of their plans, including the venue of the rally or the route, but they have booked several public parks at Kirulapone, Narahenpita, Havelock Town, and Slave Island.
Police moved several courts in and outside Colombo to try and get restraining orders, but in all cases the magistrates said no special orders were necessary as police had powers to deal with anyone disrupting the life of the community.
Several opposition activists said they were told about plans to stay overnight in Colombo and keep up a night vigil to capture prime time television coverage on Wednesday. They will bus in more people on Thursday morning to continue the protest into Thursday.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Namal Rajapaksa would try to create trouble to ensure violence that would tarnish the image of the government.
“People have a right to protest and we respect that right,” Samaraweera said. “They are desperate to try and get someone killed during the protest.”