Sri Lanka: at least 78 injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of the government

Critical situation in Sri Lanka. An indefinite curfew was decreed by the police on Monday (May 9th) in Colombo, the capital, after clashes between government supporters and demonstrators calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. According to hospital services, at least 78 people were injured. Violence condemned by the American ambassador to the island.

Loyalists from the Gotabaya Rajapaksa camp, armed with sticks and truncheons, have attacked protesters who have been camping outside the president’s office since April 9, AFP journalists have found. Police fired tear gas and water cannons after government supporters broke through police ranks to destroy encampments of thousands of anti-government protesters demanding Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s departure.

A major economic crisis

For months, the island of 22 million people has suffered severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine. This unprecedented crisis, blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic which deprived the country of foreign currency for the tourism sector, has been aggravated by a series of bad political decisions, according to economists.

The population has been demonstrating for several weeks accusing President Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, of having precipitated the country into this crisis, and is demanding their resignation. On Monday on Twitter, the latter urged, “people to exercise restraint and remember that violence only begets violence”. “The economic crisis in which we find ourselves requires an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving”he added.

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