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    Sri Lanka Government Clamps Curfew in Colombo to Curb Protests

    GovernanceAccountabilitySri Lanka Government Clamps Curfew in Colombo to Curb...
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    Sri Lanka Government Clamps Curfew in Colombo to Curb Protests

    People spilled on to the streets overnight, blaming the government for the economic mess and demanding the President’s resignation. The lifting of the blackout coincided live broadcasts of the protests television across living rooms, in turn bringing out more people on the streets.

    With over US$ 50 billion in foreign debts, much to be serviced in the months to come, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange shortage has led people to come out on the streets. The situation has worsened as armed police used force and fired into crowds of protestors.

    Protests erupted overnight near the presidential palace where protestors were heard calling for President Gotabay Rajapaksa to resign.

    Police, in turn, used water cannon and tear gassed crowds gathered near the president’s house in Mirihana, a suburb of Colombo.

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    Protestors shouted slogans demanding the President’s resignation and called to urgently tackle the economic crisis.

    The foreign exchange crisis has resulted in skyrocketing inflation emerging from two years of money printed to keep interest rates down. The once developed SouthAsian economy has now come to a sad pass, evident from the empty shelves in shops, people going hungry and a shortage of fuel and electricity.

    The effort to create a ‘production economy’ by printing money over the past two years only led to inflation – hitting a high of 18.7 per cent this March. The Colombo Consumer Price Index indicated that food prices had risen 30 per cent rise over the past 12 months.

    Blackouts

    The economic crisis has impacted Sri Lankans in ways they never imagined: Hunger, Power cuts, paucity of fuel and even a shortage of paper impacting children’s education, to name a few. But the fun-loving islanders never imagined they would be at each other throats for purchasing fuel.

    Worse, the tourism industry has been worst hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, throwing many out of jobs and, in turn, chocking a major source of foreign exchange.

    Over the past month, people have been engaged in quarrels and even fist-fights while in queues for fuel under the intense Sri Lankan summer sun.

    Also read: Murder, deaths, runaway inflation – the litany of the common Sri Lankan

    Families have been braving blackouts as the Ceylon Electricity Board has curtailed electricity production due to the shortage of fuel. The dams do not have enough water to generate electricity. Sri Lanka had much stopped coal-fired generation of electricity and those power plants are now unserviceable.

    Sadly for the government, the resumption of power coincided live broadcasts of the protests television across living rooms, in turn bringing out more residents of the capital on to the streets.

    The protests have now led to several parts of Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, being placed under indefinite curfew and police patrolling. The curfew was lifted early morning hours.

     

    Image: Hippopx, Licensed for use under Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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