Non-violent protests can continue: Sri Lanka's president

STORY: Sri Lanka's new President Ranil Wickremesinghe told diplomats this week that non-violent protests against his government will be allowed to continue.

That's according to a statement from his office on Sunday (July 24).

This announcement came after a pre-dawn raid on Friday (July 22).

Hundreds of security personnel dismantled part of an anti-government protest camp outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo - raising fears of a wider crackdown by Wickremesinghe who was sworn in a day earlier.

Protesters on Sunday (July 24) condemned the raid and vowed to continue protesting.

"We are protesting for a just society and we are being attacked brutally and we condemn and say we will continue this protest of love…whatever the tag they are going to give. Today they might attack us but we will resist it and we will face it."

Friday's raid drew condemnation from the United Nations and Western envoys.

They urged the government to exercise restraint, saying the use of force could further destabilize the nation suffering its worst economic crisis in seven decades.

Wickremesinghe took office following victory in a parliamentary vote.

That was after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and resigned following mass protests triggered by his perceived mishandling of the economy.