Colombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday beefed up security by deploying thousands of police officers across the country, ahead of a crucial presidential poll scheduled for Saturday, police said.
Police Spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara said that over 25,000 police officers were deployed in the nine districts of the island country for election duty, and by Saturday they would be deployed at the 12,856 polling booths which will be set up, Xinhua reported. Gunasekara said over 2,000 police officers will also be deployed in the 43 counting centers while thousands of officers will also be on duty through mobile patrols.
Over 100 riot squads will be on standby while over 3,000 road blocks will also be put up. "In addition officers from the Special Task Force (ST) will also be stationed in certain areas on election day," Gunasekara said. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that no major election violence had been reported to date, and the Commission was expecting a peaceful election on Saturday.
He urged political parties to refrain from committing any violations and to ensure a free and fair poll. Thirty-five candidates will be contesting the presidential elections on Saturday. An estimated 16 million people, out of the 22 million population, are eligible to vote. The last presidential election was held in 2014.