Sunday, 7 November 2010

Presidential Visit

I heard that the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was in town again today so I nipped up to see what was going on. It turned out that there was going to be a ceremony to remember his father who died 43 years ago today. He was an MP and there's a newish-looking statute of him in the little park near where I work.

The security services were out in force again - police, army, navy, air-force, military police and loads of plain-clothed security guys. I positioned myself opposite the president's family home on the Matara Road from where it's a short walk past the Food City supermarket to the little park.  I managed to get a few photos as he, his wife, son and brother emerged from the gates and walked with fifty or so selected folk up to a marquee in the park.

As they moved up the road I kept up with the official photographers and somehow bypassed the security checks at the side of the road.  I found myself the only civilian anywhere near the president - all the locals and other onlookers were on the opposite side of the road! You can get an idea of where I was positioned in the videos below. A local later told me that the security people wouldn't challenge a white-skinned tourist like me because of their lack of English. Perhaps that's correct because I noticed another Westerner come past me later but I'd have thought it possible to communicate "Get over there, peasant!" nonverbally quite effectively. Whatever, it sounds a security weakness if ever I heard one!

1 comment:

  1. Great to see the photos of the lovely children you are working with and the Presidents visit.
    Will they celebrate Christmas in Sri Lanka?
    You do an amazing job Clive.

    Cheers Verona Gridley and Junior G