Protests turned violent in Kandy on Sunday 28 October in response to the dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Deepening divisions between the President's party and the Prime Minister's are emerging. This political unrest may continue for some time. Supporters for both sides have been protesting in the streets, resulting in an increased police presence in the capital.
Another protest is planned for Monday, 29 October, and others are sure to follow in the coming weeks.
Travelers are strongly urged to keep updated with local news reports and government travel advisories. You should remain vigilant and avoid all demonstrations and rallies. Check with trusted locals about the possibility of protest gatherings each day, and avoid those areas. Carry identification with you at all times.
Sri Lankan Police have increased their tourist police presence at several natural attractions and towns across the country after a Dutch tourist was sexually harassed and groups of Dutch and Israeli tourists were attacked near the resort towns of Mirissa and Weligama. Arrests have been made by local authorities.
Extra patrols at popular tourist spots will also be a part of the effort to curb crime and restore safety. Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister John Amaratunga has spoken out asking tourists to come forward and report all crimes. He also noted that female travelers should take caution when out at night.
Sri Lankan authorities have removed the temporary state of emergency which was placed on the country in response to civil unrest particularly in the major city of Kandy and its surrounds in March. The Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau reports that all activities including tourism have returned to a normal state and Kandy, along with other parts of the country are safe for tourists to visit. Government authorities have announced that full security will also be in place.
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