Protests erupt in front of Sri Lanka President's residence as economic crisis deepens
Protestors shouted slogans, directing their ire against what they perceive as the Rajapaksa regime's gross mismanagement that has exacerbated Sri Lanka's foreign-exchange woes
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at angry protesters on Thursday after they gathered in front of the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence in Colombo on Thursday clamouring for his resignation, as the island nation continued to reel under its worst economic crisis in decades.
A foreign exchange crunch in Sri Lanka has led to a shortage of essential goods such as fuel, cooking gas, and power cuts that last up to 13 hours a day.
Protestors shouted slogans, directing their ire against what they perceive as the Rajapaksa regime's gross mismanagement that has exacerbated Sri Lanka's foreign-exchange woes.
No petrol, no gas, no milk powder, no electricity , Go home Gota , placard carrying protestors were then seen walking towards the Rajapaksa private residence at Pangiriwatte Lane.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon at the protesters after they pulled down a steel barricade, which had been placed near Gotabaya's residence.
On Thursday, Sri Lanka turned off street lights in several parts of Colombo and other towns to conserve electricity.
The country has been grappling with power outages for upto 13 hours on Thursday as the government does not have foreign exchange to pay for its fuel imports.
So dire is the current situation that several government-run hospitals have stopped conducting surgeries as they have run out of essential life-saving medicines.
According to the country's Central Bank, inflation has surged to 17.5% in February this year, and it is expected to rise even further in the near future because the government has allowed the local currency to float freely, resulting in higher prices for fuel and other essentials.
Rajapaksa, however, has defended his government saying the forex crisis was not his making and the economic downturn was largely pandemic driven.