US, UK and Canada warns their citizens who travel to Sri Lanka

US, UK and Canada governments advise their Citizens to abstain from travelling to Sri Lanka on the event of political instability and turmoil in the country. The advisories also warns those who are already in Sri Lanka to keep away from demonstrations and protests, to stay safe.

The problems started when President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, who ruled the country from 2005 to 2015 before being defeated by Sirisena;  but the former has called the move illegal and refuses to leave his office. Rajapaksa’s return to power has  triggered violence in the country and economists warn it could pose dire consequences for Sri Lanka’s democratic future.

Protesters gathered in front of the residence of sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens of the probability of large protests near the Prime Minister’s residence, Temple Trees.  Due to the current political situation, U. S. Citizens are reminded of an increased likelihood of civil unrest, strikes, and demonstrations.

The Embassy reminds citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. The advisory asks the citizens to avoid the areas of the demonstrations and exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests. It also urges to monitor local media for updates and be aware of their surroundings. It advises to keep a low profile.

Sri Lanka’s sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe, centre, interacts with his supporters at his official residence.

The Government of UK also updated its travel advisory on Sri Lanka. It said there are reports of rapid political developments in Sri Lanka.

“You should exercise vigilance and avoid all demonstrations or large political gatherings. We will continue to monitor and update Travel Advice as appropriate,” the UK Foreign Office advised British citizens.

The advisory issued by the Canadian authorities states,  “Canadians planning a trip to Sri Lanka should be aware of the high-risk advisory put in place due to the current political situation. All the unrest started when the president moved to dismiss the country’s Prime Minister causing some political unrest.”

“Those visiting are to be aware of demonstrations in the country and to keep an eye on media for the latest information about the political state,” states the advisory.