Sri Lankan police have been instructed to launch an attack and use live ammunition to prevent “anarchy” in the country, an official said today after two days of bloody clashes..
Eight people have been killed and more than 225 injured in violent clashes that erupted on the sidelines of anti-government protests on Monday, according to police in the 22-million-strong country plunged into the worst economic crisis in its history.
“This is not a spontaneous outrage, but an organized violence,” a senior police official said today, adding that 85,000 members of the security forces were now instructed to use live ammunition against the rioters.
“If the situation is not brought under control, there may be complete anarchy,” he said, noting that the protection of many judges who have received threats has increased.
Following the burning late Tuesday night of a luxury hotel, which belonged to a member of the Rajapa families in the southern part of Sri Lanka, police in many areas shot in the air to break the crowd that burned cars.
The army had been ordered to fire yesterday to disperse the riots.
Residents of Sri Lanka are outraged after months of shortages of food, fuel and medicine and power outages, while peaceful protesters have been calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapakha for weeks.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
At the age of 76, Mahinda resigned on Monday after the bloody clashes, while yesterday morning the army helped him escape from his official residence that was besieged in Colombo.
The resignation is “an important event, people are really satisfied,” said Kausalia Fernando, an actress and human rights activist.
However, “this is not enough”, he underlined, while he added: “We demand the departure of the whole Rajapaxa family, they are completely corrupt”.
Extension of the traffic ban
The curfew announced shortly after the clashes began on Monday should have been lifted this morning, but was extended for 24 hours. Despite this, protesters have set up tents in front of the office of the President of Sri Lanka.
Gotabaya Rajapaxa remains in the presidency and has expanded powers as well as control of the security forces.
According to Tsantana Alouthge, a professor of economics at Colombo University, citizens can no longer afford to rely on the democratic process.
“Even in Sri Lanka, where we have reached a state of modern society, the system of government is in fact very close to an outdated feudal system,” he said.
Through Twitter, Rajapaxa today called on “all Sri Lankans to join hands to overcome economic, social and political challenges.”
But the main opposition party SJB reiterated today that it will not run in a coalition government under Rajapax.
“The violence was provoked by the (authorities) to impose martial law,” party leader Sajit Premantasa tweeted, calling for “the rule of law to be protected by the constitution and not by arms.”
Sri Lanka, which announced on April 12 the suspension of payments on its foreign debt, which is estimated at $ 51 billion, is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a loan.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka and are concerned about the escalation of social tensions and violence,” said Masahiro Nozaki, head of the IMF mission in the country.