SRI LANKA: When protesters organized a rally outside the home of Sri Lankan, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, late on Thursday, more than 40 people were arrested and one person was gravely injured.
Protesters also set fire to a bus parked outside the president’s mansion in Colombo’s Mirihana neighborhood.
Hundreds of demonstrators protested near the president’s mansion on Pengiriwatte Road, according to images and videos circulated on social media.
The majority of the demonstrators in the images were holding placards. Some demonstrators brought their children with them. According to the reports, the protest has yet to be put down.
Following the protests, Colombo police imposed a midnight curfew. A senior police official, Amal Edirimanne, stated that four police divisions in Colombo — Colombo North, South, Colombo Central, Nugegoda, Mount Lavinia, and Kelaniya – were under curfew.
The curfew was lifted on Friday morning, according to local news agencies quoting Colombo police spokesperson Nihal Thalduwa.
Protests have erupted in response to the government’s handling of the country’s devastating economic crisis, on which various experts disagree.
Some blame it on the Chinese debt trap, but Sri Lankan critics blame economic mismanagement and a reluctance to implement reforms in the Sri Lankan economy as the primary causes of the recent outpouring of rage against the Rajapaksa regime.
Sri Lanka was hesitant to contact the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for fear of having to execute the UN agency’s planned economic changes. The hesitation was a crucial factor in Sri Lanka’s decision to refinance its Chinese loans and seek assistance from India.
According to sources, a 70% reduction in foreign exchange reserves since January 2020 has put Sri Lanka in an economic crisis, which is fueling civil instability on the island.
According to Ahilan Kadirgamar, a senior lecturer at the University of Jaffna, the economy has been crisis-prone since ‘liberalization in the late 1970s,’ and he linked the current crisis to the civil war that has destroyed Sri Lanka for more than two decades.
He claims that the JR Jayawardena government’s decision to put the economy on a neoliberal path in the late 1970s, when workers’ unions were assaulted and tens of thousands of workers were laid off, opened the way for the current catastrophe.
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