Millions of Sri Lankans learnt only by late Friday morning that the major thrust by Opposition political parties brought an end to the near ten year rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As the counting began in centres countrywide after polls ended on Thursday, families and friends sat around their television sets for the results. There was fear in the minds of most. Only a day earlier, in the main cities, shops and supermarkets were crowded by people panic buying stocks of food to cope with a possible post-poll curfew on Friday, marred by violent incidents. There was no cause for such a move. The reason – there were brave men in the security forces, the judiciary, the Department of Elections and other establishments — who literally placed their lives on the line of fire to make a free poll possible.