Mahinda Rajapaksa today alleged that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is leading a "police state", hours after security personnel used water cannon and tear gas on the former strongman's supporters who were protesting in favour of fresh elections.
The backers of former president Rajapaksa, whose nearly a decade-long regime was ended by Sirisena last year in January, gathered near Parliament to protest the government's continuous postponement of elections for over 300 local councils.
Police used water cannon and tear gas on Rajapaksa's supporters who were members of local councils near Parliament.
"The police attacked them when they protested calling for elections. They are creating a police state by doing so," Rajapaksa said.
The Joint Opposition raised a privilege issue in Parliament over the attack.
The government states that elections, postponed since 2015, would be held once the current delimitation process is complete but the Rajapaksa backers claim that Sirisena was scared of losing ground to them.
Several members of Sirisena's party recently floated a new political party to contest elections separately.