Oil shortages and power cuts in Sri Lanka have brought the country to a near standstill as protesters stormed the president’s home demanding he step down
Local time March 31, as Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is getting worse and worse, a large number of disgruntled people took to the streets to protest, criticizing the government’s handling of the economic crisis.The protest turned violent when hundreds of people tried to storm the home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. At least one man was seriously injured.A curfew was later imposed in the capital Colombo.Protesters set fire to a military vehicle opposite the president’s home as disgruntled citizens demanded the president’s resignation Four hours into a protest in Colombo, the Guardian reported, with people Shouting that the government had failed to do its job and calling for the president’s resignation.Protesters set fire to a military vehicle parked opposite Mr. Rajapaksa’s home, as well as a police car.They also knocked down the walls of neighboring houses and attacked officers with bricks.Security forces fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators calling for Mr. Rajapaksa to step down.There were foreign media reports of shots being fired, but it was not clear if they were live or rubber bullets.Official sources told AFP that Mr Rajapaksa was not at home during the unrest, but that military officials were holding meetings to discuss how to handle the crisis.An indefinite curfew was imposed on the capital following the violence and the area remains closed to traffic.This prevented some local residents who were not in Colombo at the time from returning home. “I can’t go home because my area is cordoned off,” one resident told AFP.Thursday’s protest followed protests across Sri Lanka over diesel shortages, but not against the president or other leaders, according to the Guardian.The rally was called by social media activists, who have not been identified, but whose anger was mostly directed at Mr. Rajapaksa and his family.In Sri Lanka, one of President Rajapaksa’s older brothers, Mahinda, is prime minister, his eldest brother, Chamal, is minister of agriculture, his youngest brother, Bashir, is finance minister, and nephew namal is sports minister.Videos shared on social media showed men and women chanting “madman, madman go home” and demanding that all powerful members of the Rajapaksa family step down.Sri Lanka, a South Asian island of 22m people, is said to be in its worst economic crisis since independence because of a severe shortage of foreign currency to pay for even the most urgently needed imports, including various types of fuel and food.On March 31, gas stations across the island ran out of diesel, the main fuel for local buses and commercial vehicles, paralyzing public transportation, according to officials and media reports.”We are siphoning off fuel from buses parked in garages for repairs and giving it to vehicles that still work,” said Transport Minister Amnujama.Owners of private buses, which make up two-thirds of the country’s public transport fleet, said they had run out of gas and would not be able to serve people after Friday.The state power authority said a 13-hour blackout began on March 31st, the longest ever, because of a lack of diesel fuel for generators.Hydropower stations, which provide a third of the country’s electricity, say reservoirs are dangerously low and they can’t hold out much longer.Telecom operators said the power cuts affected cell towers and affected call quality, adding that their backup generators were also out of diesel.Several state-run hospitals have stopped performing operations because they have run out of basic life-saving drugs.The government says it is seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and is asking for more loans from countries such as India.Talks on Sri Lanka-related issues will begin “in Washington in the next few days,” imf spokesman Gerry Rice said In Washington March 31. Sri Lanka’s finance minister is expected to attend the talks.More exciting information please download “extreme news” client in the application market, do not reprint without authorization, welcome to provide news clues, once adopted will pay.