The Sri Lankan Parliament was adjourned on Friday until November 19 after loyalists of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the seat of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and shouted slogans, PTI reported. Jayasuriya summoned the police inside the House and adjourned the session amid chaotic scenes.
Jayasuriya on Wednesday said Parliament had passed a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa and his government a day after the country’s Supreme Court stayed President Maithiripala Sirisena’s order last week to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections in January.
Last month, Sirisena had ousted Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with Rajapaksa. The president had also suspended Parliament till November 16 to prevent a vote from being held. Though Sirisena later lifted the suspension and said the Parliament would reconvene on November 14, he dissolved it again and called snap elections.
Parliament was supposed to repeat the floor test, which was disrupted on Thursday when legislators exchanged punches, AFP reported. Sirisena had asked Parliament to amend and submit again the no-confidence motion. On Friday, MPs broke furniture and attacked officers in the House. A few ministers loyal to Rajapaksa reportedly threw chilli powder at their rivals and the police.
Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, a legislator from deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party, said water mixed with chilli powder was thrown at his face and he later required treatment in Parliament’s medical centre.
Forty-five minutes into the disruption, Jayasuriya called the police inside the chamber as MP Arundika Fernando occupied his seat and more ministers surrounded it. Protesting members of Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance demanded the arrest of two legislators of the United National Party and accused them of carrying knives into Parliament the previous day.
The police shielded Jayasuriya from the protesting MPs as he declared that a motion against Rajapaksa had been passed via a voice vote, because the brawl in the House had made physical voting impossible. After the MPs threw books at the police, Jayasuriya suspended Parliament and was escorted out of the House.
Sirisena said he would not let Parliament to be suspended under any circumstances. “I urge all parliamentarians to uphold principles of democracy parliamentary traditions at all times,” he tweeted.