In a massive public rally held in the vicinity of Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister, a host of UNP MPs and a sea of party supporters demanded President Maithripala Sirisena to reconvene Parliament and accept the legitimacy of Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s premiership.
The participants of the rally threatened to surround Sirisena’s residence and Parliament to ensure that the legislature convened without delay.
Speaking at the rally, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe reiterated that he was still the legal and constitutional Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and his sacking on Friday was illegal.
“President has usurped the powers of the legislature. This should not be allowed,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that his party had enough support in Parliament to form a government.
“What is happening in Sri Lanka and undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Wickremesinghe stressed. “The massive crowds have gathered here demanding democracy and to protect the constitution.”
“We have many leaders here, with diverse opinions, who have come forward with a single hope of upholding democracy and protecting the constitution.”
“We fought for our Presidential Candidate Sirisena. We sacrificed our lives for him. We shed blood and tears. Despite many obstacles, we made him the President of the country. Today he has betrayed our trust and the mandate in a despicable manner.”
“The people of our country want us to protect democracy. They initially thought we would run for cover after the despicable move on Friday. We will never do that. We will fight for democracy. Today, we have made Temple Trees the symbol of democracy in Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that his party will never run away from this battle.
Many UNP Speakers, including Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne, Ranjan Ramanayaka and Harin Fernando, severely criticized the President’s conduct and blamed him for blatantly reversing the ‘January 08 mandate.”
They threatened to come to Sirisena’s residence with the crowds if the latter did not reconvene Parliament with immediate effect.
Harin Fernando described Sirisena as the “hopper man” (Appaya) and apologized to the party supporters for requesting them to vote for Sirisena.