By Chathuri Dissanayake
Nearly 3,000 loyalists of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday occupied the Lake House Roundabout in Fort and held a ‘sathyagraha’ after the ‘Janabalaya Colombata’ protest march organised by the Joint Opposition (JO) was wrapped up.
The Government members discredited the campaign as unsuccessful as it had failed to garner support from the wider public.
Addressing his supporters amidst loud cheering, Rajapaksa spoke of toppling the Government to bring an end to what he termed as the Government’s “separatism policies”. He also criticised the “sale of national assets” and pledged to form a new government in the future. Surrounded by loyalist parliamentarians, Rajapaksa called on the crowd to stand up against the Government, which he claimed to be “dictatorial” in its actions.
“Join us to topple this Government before long,” said a visibly tired but upbeat Rajapaksa as the crowd cheered, drowning out his voice.
The rally, which was set up to be a launch pad for Hambantota District MP and former first son Namal Rajapaksa, brought thousands to the Lake House round-about by 4 PM.
Joining the marchers near the Colombo Fort Railway station, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and their security contingents rode in convoy through the crowds.