Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Protests: Curfew To Continue In Rambukkana After Violence; 3 critics

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police said on Wednesday that the curfew will continue in the southwestern region of Rambukkana, where one person was killed and 13 others wounded in violence after police opened fire on unarmed anti-government protesters protesting against the latest increase in the price of fuel. .
At least three of the 13 protesters hospitalized in Rambukkana, some 90 kilometers northeast of Colombo, were in critical condition at Kegalle hospital, according to authorities. Fifteen police officers have also been injured.
Police Chief Chandana Wickremaratne told reporters that the curfew imposed in the area would continue.
“Protesters got violent yesterday and blocked the train tracks. They were demanding fuel at the old price after waiting in the fuel line for a long time,” he said.
As police arranged for two fuel tankers, protesters removed the battery from one of the vehicles, blocking the rail line, Wickremaratne said.
“Police used minimal force firing tear gas,” the police chief said.
The death of a protester was the first during ongoing protests over the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.
The senior bureaucrat of the Ministry of Public Security, Jagath Alwis, said that the protesters tried to set fire to a tanker truck with 33,000 liters of fuel.
Police were forced to open fire to prevent protesters from setting the bomber on fire.
Alwis said a three-member investigative committee had been appointed to investigate whether police had used excessive power in opening fire on protesters.
The US, EU and UN Resident Coordinator embassies have issued statements condemning the police shooting.
The latest increase in fuel prices on Monday night sparked street protests in many areas on Tuesday.
The island nation’s oil entities have been raising the price regularly due to fuel shortages.
Meanwhile, the unions have collectively said they would launch a black protest to force the resignation of the government for bungling in the ongoing economic crisis.
“We would carry out a picketing campaign dressed in black,” said the head of the teachers’ union, Joseph Stalin.
On Tuesday, the university teachers’ federation held a march in solidarity with the main anti-government protest taking place in Galle Face at the entrance to the presidential secretariat.
The Galle Face protest enters its 12th day on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka is grappling with economic turmoil unprecedented since independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is due in part to a lack of foreign exchange, which has meant the country is unable to pay for imports of basic food and fuel, which which has caused a serious shortage. and very high prices.
The island nation is witnessing large-scale protests against the government’s handling of the debt-ridden economy, the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.
Protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Sri Lankan-led Podujana (Peramuna) government have intensified as shortages continue and prices soar.
Last week, the Sri Lankan government said it would temporarily default on $35.5 billion in foreign debt as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine made payments to overseas creditors impossible.

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