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News > Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Over 660 People Arrested for Taking Part in Riots

  • Riots flared up in Sri Lanka on May 9 over an unprecedented economic crises. May. 17, 2022.

    Riots flared up in Sri Lanka on May 9 over an unprecedented economic crises. May. 17, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@ArjunNaveen27

Published 17 May 2022

According to reports, over 660 people have been arrested by the country's authorities for participating in riots on May 9 and 10. 

Sri Lanka has been plunged into a severe economic crisis for months, triggering a wave of peaceful protests until the outbreak of violent incidents on Monday, May 9. Citizens took to the streets to demand the departure of the Prime Minister and the President. Government supporters unleashed violence by attacking protesters. 


Sri Lankan Military With Full Powers To Suppress Protests

A Tuesday report of the Sri Lankan media outlet News First said that the total number of people arrested due to the violent clashes on May 9-10 has increased to 664, of which 206 have been already released on bond. The report also said that 258 people had been arrested in the last 24 hours, of whom 67 have been released on bail, and 43 have been remanded in custody.

Confrontations between supporters and opponents of the ruling party, the Sri Lanka People's Front, flared up in Sri Lanka on May 9. Disturbances in the country's capital Colombo started right after several thousand supporters of the governing party attacked the opposition camp and later engaged in a clash with them at a rally close to the residences of the Sri Lankan prime minister and president. 

Police used water cannons and tear gas to clear the mob. According to the police, eight people, among them two police officers, were killed and more than 200 injured in the riots. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned in an attempt to ease the ongoing crisis after rioters torched his and the president's house.

A political stalemate has hit Sri Lanka due to its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. The difficult financial situation stems from a shortage of foreign exchange since tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the country unable to buy enough fuel. 

Remittances from Sri Lankans abroad have also been adversely affected by the pandemic. Acute shortages of food and necessities, including fuel and gas, exist, and many parts of the country face continuous power outages. Sri Lanka's external debt is valued at 51 billion dollars.

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