Sri Lanka Crisis: 45 Protesters Arrested As Situation Worsens, Curfew Lifted

Colombo: After protests outside Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s mansion got violent over the worsening economic crisis, an overnight curfew was enforced in many parts of Colombo. It was removed approximately 5 a.m. today.

45 people have been arrested, according to police, for their suspected involvement in yesterday’s protests outside the White House.

“Five policemen were injured while several vehicles were set on fire by the protesters,” officials said, adding that the injured have been admitted to the hospital for treatment.

The curfew was implemented in the police divisions of Colombo North, South, Colombo Central, Nugegoda, Mount Lavinia, and Kelaniya.

Tear gas and water cannon were used by police to disperse demonstrators who attempted to breach the Sri Lankan President’s residence in the capital yesterday. Men and women were seen chanting “lunatic, lunatic, go home” and demanding that all members of the strong Rajapaksa family stand down in videos published on social media.

Food, vital products, petrol, and gas have been in low supply for weeks as the country grapples with its worst economic downturn since independence.

Due to a lack of foreign currency to buy fuel, many sections of the country are experiencing rolling power outages lasting up to 13 hours.

The crisis is the result of poorly timed tax cuts, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and historically weak government finances, which has resulted in a 70% loss in foreign exchange reserves in the last two years.

Sri Lanka’s government has announced its intention to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice stated yesterday that negotiations with Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister “should begin in the coming days.”

India and China have also offered further loans to the country.

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