Sri Lanka’s economic crisis leads to protest; Prime minister resigns, and opposition calls for his arrest as inciting violence

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka released in April, The Consumer Price Index (CPI) report found that inflation rose to 29.8 percent. Compared to last year’s same period, there is a 46.6% increase in food prices in Sri Lanka, while non-food items rose by 22%.

The Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned on Monday (May 9). According to his resignation letter sent to the President a few months ago (the copy of which was seen by Reuters), he left to solve the crisis by helping form an interim, unity government and claiming it was the best way.

Since March, the country has been rocked by civil unrest, with demonstrations turning violent as anger builds over the government’s apparent mishandling of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis.

For over a month, protests have spread across the country, drawing people across ethnicities, religions and classes. It was the first time middle-class Sri Lankans took to the streets in large numbers, marking a dramatic revolt by many former Rajapaksa supporters. Some of them have spent weeks protesting outside the president’s office.

Rajapaksa’s departure came during a day of chaos and violence, culminating in police imposing a curfew across the country. The confrontation began with hundreds of ruling party supporters rallying outside the prime minister’s official residence before marching to an anti-government protest site outside the presidential office.

Police had formed a line ahead of time on the main road leading towards the site but did little to stop pro-government protesters from advancing, according to a Reuters witness.

Some pro-government supporters armed attacked anti-government demonstrators with iron bars at the “Gota Go Gama” tent village that sprang up last month and became the focal point of nationwide protests.

Police used tear gas rounds and water cannons to break up the confrontation, it was the first major clash between pro-and anti-government supporters since the protests began in late March. As of today (May 10, Tuesday), the death toll from the violence has risen to eight.

Source:

Prachachat

The Indian Express

CNN

Reuters

Kris Lam
Author: Kris Lam

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