Sri Lanka state-owned channel goes off air after protesters enter building

Sri Lanka’s state-owned television channel suspended its operations after protesters entered the building. The channel has now resumed its services.

The protesters were provided around 15 minutes to convey their side of the story to the viewers, according to local media, (Photo: Screengrab)

Sri Lanka’s state-owned television channel Rupavahini resumed service after suspending its operations for a brief period as protesters entered the building on Wednesday.

The channel claimed that they had to suspend their live and recorded telecasts as the corporation premises was surrounded by protesters. However, protesters said they only entered the office after discussions with channel authorities.

Earlier in the day, a group of protesters entered the premises and demanded that they run only news related to “anti-government protests” and entertainment programmes, a channel official was quoted as saying by Newswire Lanka.

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“The protesters had behaved in a calm manner and had left the premises without engaging in any forms of violence, while the SLRC is back in the hands of the authorities and security forces,” the official said.

The protesters were provided around 15 minutes to convey their side of the story to the viewers, after which the channel suspended transmission, the report said. Later, the channel resumed its transmission.

Meanwhile, as the political and economic crisis deepened, protesters stormed the gates of the PM office. The security forces had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who was appointed as the acting President after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country, has ordered forces to arrest people involved in rioting.

The protesters, who stormed the three main buildings in the capital, the President’s House, the presidential secretariat and the prime minister’s official residence, demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, are still occupying them.

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