Troops won’t harm peaceful protesters

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In the wake of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) officials visiting the Ganemulla Army Camp, after a video circulated on social media showing training of Army soldiers with protest slogans, Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva said the Army would never interfere in peaceful protests of citizens.

General Silva said so during an event to mark the first working day of the New Year.

He said the Army prioritised the interests of the State and its peace-loving citizens. “We are always with the people and we do not want to take any ‘stand’ as some of those speculations claim and we never ever mete out harm or harassment to anyone, neither do we want to inconvenience anyone in anyway. We are there to assist the Police only when our assistance is sought,” he said.

“As you know, our troops valiantly move in anywhere others are unable to do so while doing everything possible to keep the country and its people safe. We do not have any hidden agendas as propagated by some ill-informed reports or hold any secret agendas as claimed by some elements with vested interests as you have seen in the past few days. The Army is not there to hatch secret plans or mean harm to the very people whom they have committed to protect, and those rumours reflect the mindset of those elements that are hell-bent on creating further unrest among peaceful protesters,” he said.

Meanwhile, HRCSL officials also visited the protest site at Galle Face, where people continued to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.