Violence escalates in Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Defense on Tuesday (May 10th) ordered its troops to shoot on sight those involved in looting or violence, the day after actions by anti-government demonstrators against the homes of elected party officials in able. “Security forces have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone who will loot public property or attempt life” others, the ministry said.

The Sri Lankan government has deployed tens of thousands of military personnel – army, navy and air force – to patrol the bustling streets of the capital, Colombo and elsewhere, in the aftermath of a day of violence. Police said on Tuesday that eight people, including two officers, were killed during an outbreak of violence the previous night. A total of 65 residential buildings were damaged, of which 41 burned down, and 88 cars and buses as well as hundreds of two-wheelers were destroyed, according to the same source.

Sri Lanka, which has a population of 23 million, has been under a state of emergency since Friday, giving the military expanded powers to arrest suspects. The government also decreed a two-day curfew after government supporters attacked a peaceful protest on Monday, injuring 219 people. The country has been rocked for several weeks by daily demonstrations against the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after several months of shortages marking the most serious economic crisis since independence in 1948.

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