Dinesh Gunawardena took oath as the prime minister of Sri Lanka on Friday morning, Newswire reported. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was sworn in as the president on Thursday, administered the oath to Gunawardena.

Gunawardena, 73, is a leader of the leftist outfit Mahajana Eksath Peramuna. He has served as a Cabinet minister and Leader of the House in the Sri Lankan Parliament, according to Newswire. He is seen as a loyalist of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country last week amid widespread protests against an unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

Gunawardena replaces Wickremesinghe on the prime minister’s post. On July 9, Wickremesinghe had said he would step down from the post. But he did not resign officially, and instead became the acting president as well after Rajapaksa fled.

Meanwhile, late on Thursday night, the Sri Lankan military and police personnel raided the Galle Face site in Colombo where protestors have been holding peaceful sit-in demonstration for months. Security personnel assaulted the protestors and journalists present at the site near the presidential secretariat, witnesses said.

Nine persons were arrested, of whom two had sustained injuries, police spokesperson Nalin Thalduwa said.