Sri Lanka's anti-government protests have gone silent - for now
Instead a slew of carollers sang to the public from across the heavily-guarded fences of the Presidential Secretariat. Next to the building rose an 80 ft (24m) Christmas tree, the signature piece in a landscape dotted with décor, food stalls and musical shows. And as fireworks ushered in the new year, a massive crowd flocked to the oceanfront promenade known as Galle Face Green, Qazet.az reports.
It was all part of a festive zone planned by the government as a year-end tourist attraction in the central business district of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital.
But for many locals, who used the site as their "ground zero" for Occupy-style protests from April to August and demanded their leaders resign, there is little to celebrate.
"It's disgusting," says Swasthika Arulingam. "It's an indecent display of wealth that this country does not have, and of resources this country is denying to the weakest sectors of our population."