Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans marched through Colombo in an anti-government protest calling for new elections and swift action against alleged corruption and human rights violations.
Protest organizers said nearly 100,000 people joined the opposition rally, which paraded through the capital's streets on Thursday under heavy police guard. Police declined to provide official figures.
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, head of the United National Party that organized the protest, told the marchers President Mahinda Rajapakse's government was damaging the nation.
"I invite all the people to join hands to topple this government, which has nurtured corruption and abuses," he said.
Rajapakse has repeatedly brushed off allegations of misrule, saying the opposition was trying to gain political mileage. He said recently he has no intention of calling parliamentary elections until 2010.