Sri Lanka calls national public emergency amid violent protests

In the midst of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in decades, violent protests have broken out across the country promoting 53 arrests so far.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a public emergency across Sri Lanka after frustrated residents began protesting the current economic crisis.

Hundreds of protesters were met by police and the military on Thursday, with 53 people arrested and a curfew imposed to prevent further outbreaks.

Sri Lanka Protests
Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images

With recent inflation, the Sri Lankan Government are struggling to pay for fuel imports, and rolling blackouts are plunging much of the country into darkness for up to 13 hours a day.

Pepper spray and water cannons have been used as an attempt to control the revolts that have been ongoing since Thursday.

Officials have revealed that at least two dozen police officers were injured as they tried to control the protests, but have refused to comment on the number of protestors who have been hurt.

Sri Lanka’s tourism minister Prasanna Ranatunge, says the protests will only harm the economy even more. “The main issue Sri Lanka is facing is a forex shortage and protests of this nature will hurt tourism and have economic consequences,” he said.

Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, the UN representative for Sri Lanka is calling for all acts of violence to cease. “We are monitoring developments and are concerned by reports of violence,” she wrote on Twitter.