Protesters in Sri Lanka defy curfew, police fire tear gas at students

  • Tranquil anti-government protests held across Colombo
  • Govt lifts block on social media platforms after several several hours
  • Curfew ends on Monday early morning

COLOMBO, April 3 (Reuters) – Protesters in the Sri Lanka’s most significant town Colombo held a lot of compact, tranquil demonstrations over a intense economic disaster on Sunday, defying a nationwide curfew, whilst police applied tear gas to disperse student protesters in the central town of Kandy.

A senior police official explained officers used tear gasoline and h2o cannons to quit a protest of college students in Kandy.

“There were being about 750 participants but no arrests had been designed,” explained Nihal Thalduwa, a police spokesman.

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Thalduwa mentioned about 600 people today who ended up arrested in the Western Province on Saturday night for breaking curfew orders have been introduced on bail presented by law enforcement and charges will be filed versus them later on.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a point out of emergency on Friday as the Indian Ocean island country grapples with rising price ranges, shortages of essentials and rolling electricity cuts. On Saturday, the government carried out a countrywide curfew immediately after protests turned violent.

On Sunday afternoon the govt lifted a block it had placed on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp hours before. Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Chairman Jayantha de Silva claimed the evaluate was carried out on instruction from the Defence Ministry and aimed to “retain tranquil”. De Silva later on advised Reuters limitations had been lifted.

When the block was in location, Minister for Youth and Sporting activities Namal Rajapaksa, the president’s nephew, nonetheless sent a tweet in which he explained he would “never ever condone the blocking of social media”.

Critics say the roots of the crisis, the worst in numerous a long time, lie in financial mismanagement by successive governments that amassed large spending plan shortfalls and a current account deficit.

The crisis was accelerated by deep tax cuts Rajapaksa promised in the course of the 2019 election campaign and enacted months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which wiped out pieces of Sri Lanka’s financial system.


In Colombo troopers armed with assault rifles and police manned checkpoints to enforce the curfew, which is scheduled to operate until eventually until 6 a.m.(0030 GMT)on Monday.

All around two dozen opposition leaders protested at law enforcement barricades close to the Independence Square, some shouting “Gota(baya) Go Dwelling”.

“This is unacceptable,” said opposition chief Eran Wickramaratne referring to the curfew and other limits.

Other individuals stood in little teams exterior their properties or gathered in the road, some holding handwritten anti-authorities banners or waving the countrywide flag.

“This authorities, we do not want them anymore. They have experienced decades and many years to show us that they could do transform but there is nothing at all. The situation has just gotten worse by the day,” said protester Anjalee Wanduragala, 22, a student at the University of Colombo.

“We truly require a alter, we are stripped of our essential rights…people today are fed up,” she claimed.

Crisis powers in the past have permitted the navy to arrest and detain suspects without warrants, but the phrases of the existing powers are not however very clear.

Western and Asian diplomats based mostly in Sri Lanka explained they were being checking the circumstance and anticipated the governing administration to permit citizens to maintain tranquil demonstrations.

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Crafting by Rupam Jain Editing by Jacqueline Wong, William Mallard and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Have confidence in Principles.

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