Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa swore in a trusted ally today to replace the chief justice he fired in defiance of lawyers and judges who say it was illegal.
Mr Rajapaksa swore in retired attorney general and cabinet adviser Mohan Peiris.
He had sacked Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake on Sunday after a parliamentary committee found her guilty of misusing power.
Mr Peiris has been prominent in defending the government from allegations of human rights violations and enforced disappearances.
The president's critics say appointing a confidante as chief justice gives him control over the judiciary as well as parliament and is part of an effort to consolidate power in the hands of his family.
Hundreds of police officers guarded the country's main court complex in Colombo today.
Lawyers protested by blowing out candles in front of the supreme court to symbolise what they called the death of the judiciary.