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AKIPRESS.COM - Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans marched Monday in support of a new government led by the country's former strongman, highlighting the political polarization in the Indian Ocean island nation, ABC news reports.
The rally near Parliament came amid a constitutional crisis sparked by President Maithripala Sirisena's move to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with ex-leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and suspend Parliament.
Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate his official residence, insisting he is the lawful prime minister and that the president had no constitutional right to replace him. Thousands of his supporters have been keeping vigil.
Supporters of Rajapaksa at the rally chanted "Whose power is this? Mahinda's power!"
As patriotic songs blared over loudspeakers, thousands shuffled through heavy rain toward a makeshift stage. Police and Sri Lankan special forces with semi-automatic rifles stood guard.
Police estimated 120,000 people attended the rally. State television reported there were at least 200,000.