An indefinite curfew was imposed by police in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, on Monday amid clashes between government supporters and protesters demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Authorities say at least 20 people were injured. Supporters of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s faction, armed with sticks and batons, attacked protesters who have been camping in front of the president’s office since April 9, AFP reporters reported.
Police have used tear gas and water launchers after government supporters crossed the police lines to destroy the camp of thousands of anti -government protesters who demand the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaka.
For months now, the island of 22 million people has been facing severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
This unprecedented crisis, attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic that deprived the country of tourism revenue, has been exacerbated by a series of bad political decisions, according to economists.
The population has been protesting for weeks, accusing President Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, of plunging the country into this crisis and demanding their resignation.
Today, via Twitter, the latter called on “the population to show restraint and remember that violence only causes violence.”
“The economic crisis we are in requires an economic solution and this government is committed to resolving it,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the country’s energy companies announced that they had reduced their LPG reserves, which are mainly used for cooking in Sri Lanka, as foreign exchange shortages have increased the pressure on the country.
Sri Lanka, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, rising oil prices and tax cuts by President Rajapaksa’s populist government, has just $ 50 million in foreign exchange reserves, Finance Minister Ali Sambri announced last week.