A lavish military parade was held in Colombo on Saturday morning, to mark Sri Lanka’s 69th Independence Day.
Thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers marched in the ceremony, which was watched over by senior government and military officials.
Though the theme of the parade was declared to be “national unity”, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena praised the military in his address.
“When we talk about the freedom it is essential to remember the valiant war heroes who fought to save our country from LTTE terrorism throughout 30 years,” he said.
Sitting alongside him was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and Sri Lanka’s former president, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga, who now heads the government led ‘Office for National Unity & Reconciliation’.
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harsha De Silva tweeted a photograph of Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka, the man who lead the Sri Lankan army during the final phase of the armed conflict, watching a parade of Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers pass. (See a video of one such machine in action on the front lines here.)
Meanwhile in the North-East, Tamils held demonstrations to mark Sri Lanka’s Independence Day.