Forbidden Ground

Special Task Force policemen look on as protestors stroll unrestricted through the grounds of Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister of Sri Lanka, once one of the most heavily guarded and fortified spots in Colombo. 9th July 2022. Forced, by the weight of public protest, to resign in May, Mahinda Rajapakase had fled earlier that day.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/100 • ISO800 •


Keeping Out the Extremists
A young family tries to negotiate, to no avail, their way through a police barricade leading to Colombo’s Independence Square, a popular venue for protests in the city. President Gotabhaya Rajapakse, faced with widespread public protests demanding his government’s resignation over mismanagement and corruption, called the protestors extremists, and reacted with a 36-hour curfew across the weekend, and a social media block, hoping to discourage further visible dissent. Both tactics failed; unable to gather in Colombo City, large protests continued in the suburbs, through the evening and into Sunday night, while the widespread use of virtual private networks (VPNs) circumvented the state’s blockade of Facebook and Whatsapp. Sri Lanka, 3rd April 2022.
Armed troops of the paramilitary Special Task Force (STF) man a barricade blocking access to Colombo’s Independence Square. Sri Lanka, 3rd March 2022.
A Special Task Force (STF) police officer refuses to let me past barricades blocking Colombo’s Independence Square. Sri Lanka, 3rd March 2022.

Special Task

Special Task by Son of the Morning Light on

A policeman of the paramilitary Special Task Force protects the Sri Lankan Parliamentary complex on the islet of Duwa on the Diyawanna Oya lake in Kotte, close to Colombo. Clad in British DPM fatigues, he carries an American 5.56mm M4 carbine. During the Sri Lankan civil war, the STF was heavily engaged in anti-terrorism operations against the Tamil Tigers.

  • 600D+EFS18-200/3.5-5.6+polariser@200mm,1/125,f/5.6,ISO200