An overnight curfew imposed in several parts of Colombo following violent protests outside Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence over the worsening financial downturn was lifted this morning at around 5 a.m. 45 people were arrested, according to police, for their alleged involvement in yesterday’s demonstrators outside the President’s residence. “Five police officers were injured, and several vehicles were set on fire by protesters,” officials said, adding that the injured had been taken to the hospital for treatment. The curfew was imposed in the police divisions of Colombo North, South, Colombo Central, Nugegoda, Mount Lavinia, and Kelaniya.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who attempted to storm the Sri Lankan President’s home in the capital yesterday. Men and women were seen on social media shouting “lunatic, lunatic go home” and demanding that all representatives of the powerful Rajapaksa family stand down.
For weeks, there has been a critical shortage of food and essential items, as well as fuel and gas, as the country grapples with its worst economic downturn since independence.
Many parts of the country are experiencing rolling power outages lasting up to 13 hours due to a lack of foreign currency to import fuel.
The crisis is the result of poorly timed tax cuts and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with historically weak government finances, which has resulted in a 70% drop in foreign exchange reserves in the last two years.