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45 arrested for protesting near Sri Lankan president’s house, curfew lifted


45 arrested for protesting near Sri Lankan president's house, curfew lifted

The curfew was lifted at 5 am today

Colombo:

An overnight curfew imposed in some parts of Colombo, after protests outside the residence of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the worsening economic crisis turned violent, was lifted. around 5 am today.

Police said 45 people were arrested for allegedly taking part in yesterday’s protests outside the presidential residence.

“45 people were arrested (44 men and 1 woman) and 5 police officers were injured including an ASP and are being treated at the hospital following protests in Mirihana, Nugegoda last night. A police bus , 1 police jeep, 2 motorbikes were on fire and a water cannon vehicle was damaged,” a police spokesman said.

A curfew has been imposed in the Colombo North, South, Colombo Central, Nugegoda, Mount Lavinia and Kelaniya Police Divisions.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who tried to storm the Sri Lankan President’s home in the capital yesterday. Videos shared on social media showed men and women shouting “lunatics, go home” and demanding that all members of the powerful Rajapaksa family step down.

There have been shortages of food and essential commodities, fuel and gas for weeks as the country grapples with its worst economic recession since independence.

Many parts of the country hit by the crisis are struggling with power cuts lasting up to 13 hours due to a lack of foreign currency to import fuel.

The crisis is the result of well-timed tax cuts and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic coupled with historically weak government finances, which has resulted in a 70% drop in foreign exchange reserves over the past two years.



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