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Food and fuel protests: Sri Lanka army ordered to shoot

Food and fuel protests: Sri Lanka army ordered to shoot
Vehicles destroyed during protests in Colombo, on May 10.

Sri Lanka extended its nationwide curfew through to Thursday morning, with the army threatening to shoot anyone who damages property after weekslong protests over food and fuel shortages turned violent earlier this week.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appealed again for unity and asked Sri Lankans to reject the “subversive attempts” to push the country toward racial and religious disharmony.

The International Monetary Fund said technical level discussions between its officials and Sri Lankan authorities will continue in order to be ready for talks once a new government is formed though it is concerned about the “rising social tensions and unrest.”

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the brother of president, resigned as prime minister on Monday as violent clashes between government supporters and protesters left at least eight people dead and over 200 injured. There were reports he and the members of his family relocated to a naval base in the northeast after protesters stormed his Colombo residence.

Rajapaksa took to Twitter for the third time in three days to appeal for calm and call for unity following the violent clashes between government supporters and protesters earlier this week.

Rajapaksa has resisted attempts to make him resign during the weekslong protests. He has in the past indicated that he would be willing to allow constitutional amendments to curb his sweeping executive powers.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

@GotabayaR

This is the time for all Sri Lankans to join hands as one, to overcome the economic, social & political challenges.

I urge all #Srilankans to reject the subversive attempts to push you towards racial & religious disharmony. Promoting moderation, toleration & coexistence is vital.

Sent via Twitter for iPhone.

View original tweet.

IMF says talks with Sri Lanka continue

The International Monetary Fund is closely following developments in Sri Lanka and “concerned about rising social tensions and violence,” Masahiro Nozaki, the fund’s mission chief for the country, said in a statement.

“Technical level” discussions between IMF officials and Sri Lanka authorities have started, will continue in order to be ready for policy discussions once a new Sri Lanka government is formed, Nozaki said.

Meanwhile, the parliament speaker has cancelled a party leaders meeting due to security concerns for the lawmakers, many of whom had their homes attacked, local media reported.

Earlier in the day the speaker had requested the president to convene parliament immediately to discuss the current situation in the country. Parliament had adjourned until May 17.

Curfew extended

Sri Lanka extended its nationwide curfew by a day to 7 a.m. on Thursday, as the country grapples with violent protests around mismanagement of government finances that resulted in shortages of food and fuel.

“No person shall be on any public road, railway, public park, public recreation ground or other public ground or the seashore,” except with written government permission, the government said in the official gazette.

EU condemns attacks on peaceful protesters

The European Union condemned the “recent vicious attack against peaceful protesters in Colombo” and deplored the loss of life in the clashes, according to a statement. The bloc called on Sri Lankan authorities to investigate the violence and urged all parties to show restraint.

The statement followed television footage on Monday showing groups setting fire to tents put up by anti-government demonstrators outside the prime minister’s official residence and other sites in Colombo.

Army ordered to shoot protesters

Sri Lanka’s military was ordered to shoot people damaging property, army spokesman Brigadier Nilantha Premaratne said by phone. The order came after a senior police official was attacked.

 

Sri Lanka Imposes Curfew Following Protests and Clashes
Vehicles destroyed during protests in Colombo, on May 10.

Exporters call for leaders to restore stability

The Joint Apparel Association Forum, a group representing Sri Lanka’s biggest export contributors, called upon leaders to immediately restore political stability. It’s critical that a new government be appointed urgently to fill the current political vacuum, the group said in a statement on Tuesday. BM

 

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