More than 1,000 period artifacts are missing from the home of the Sri Lankan president and prime minister, police say
More than 1,000 valuable artifacts, including period objects and antiques, are said to have disappeared from Sri Lanka’s presidential palace and the prime minister’s official residence at Temple Trees in Colombo after angry anti-government protesters occupied the premises earlier this month, police said on Saturday.
On July 9, anti-government protesters occupied the residences of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after entering their premises and setting fire to one of the buildings, protesting the government’s handling of the unprecedented economic crisis.
According to initial investigations, at least 1,000 valuables, including rare artifacts, have disappeared from the presidential palace as well as from the prime minister’s official residence, the web portal Colombo Page said citing law enforcement sources.
Special investigation teams have been formed to begin an investigation, he added.
Adding to the agony of investigators is that the Sri Lankan Department of Archeology does not have a detailed record of the antiquities and various artifacts of the presidential palace, even though it has been listed as a site of archaeological significance, according to the report. .
A senior official from the Department of Archeology told the Sunday Lankadeepa newspaper that it would be difficult to get precise and clear information on the exact number of antiquities that have disappeared, although police believe it could be much higher at 1000.
Newly elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe said he respected the right of protesters to peacefully undertake their protests, but said he would not allow the occupation of any other government building such as the presidential palace or the private residence of the President. Prime Minister. Wickremesinghe said he had authorized the Sri Lankan armed forces and police to take all necessary measures to prevent people from storming public facilities and obstructing Parliament.
“Do not prevent parliamentarians and parliament from doing their duty,” he said this week.
In a raid at dawn on Friday, Sri Lankan security forces attacked a site of anti-government protesters in Galle Face, where several government offices are located, injuring at least nine people.
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