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Security firm's contract terminated at Independence Square

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs has terminted the contract of a state-owned security firm responsible for maintaining security at Independence Square in Colombo. The contract has been terminated on the orders of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, following the uproar created by the release on social media of a video showing the firm's security personnel apparently harassing a young couple at Independence Square and ordering them to leave.

The video was widely shared on social media and sparked outrage, culminating in a social media organized protest titled 'Occupy the Square' on Sunday. The protestors demanded an end to what they claimed was regular harassment of couples by security personnel on duty at Independence Square.

It has now been revealed that the Ministry of Cultural Affairs had outsourced security at the site to be handled by a security firm affiliated with the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva, who met with the protestors, said on his official Facebook page that the Prime Minister had instructed the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to cancel the contract of this state-owned firm and to remove the Director Operations.

Dr. De Silva also said the Director Operations of the security company had been appointed to the post by the former Secretary of Defence and is a sitting member of the Kotte Municipal Council.

Two of the security guards seen on the video were confronted by the deputy minister at the site of the protest, with many members of the media being also present. However, the deputy minister clarified that the guards in question had in fact not been fired.

"The two guards will be sent to another location after warning them not to abuse their power," Dr. De Silva said on his Facebook page.