Riots in Sri Lanka: Order to shoot rioters

Status: 05/11/2022 1:25 p.m.

Dead, injured, buildings destroyed: Following the unrest in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defense ordered the security forces to shoot people who damage property or endanger lives.

After the deadly riots in Sri Lanka, the authorities gave the order to fire to quell further unrest. The Ministry of Defense said security forces were instructed to shoot anyone who looted public property or endangered human life. Additionally, the government has sent armored vehicles and troops to the capital, Colombo. Armored trucks crisscrossed the streets, soldiers set up checkpoints. The army has also been deployed in other parts of the country.

Earlier, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called for an end to violence and acts of revenge against other citizens on Twitter. He wrote that every effort would be made to restore political stability through consensus so that the economic crisis could also be overcome in this way. This crisis had led to the ongoing protests.

The curfew already applies

A curfew had already been imposed on Monday, but residents in many places resisted it. At two locations, police fired into the air to disperse groups of people who were trying to burn vehicles. Earlier, an angry mob attacked and set fire to a vehicle in which the senior police officer in the capital, Colombo, sat. A luxury hotel believed to belong to a relative of outgoing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaska was also set on fire on Tuesday. According to the authorities, a total of 104 buildings and 60 vehicles were set on fire.

So far at least eight dead, hundreds injured

Weeks-long protests in Sri Lanka, which had been rocked by a severe economic crisis, escalated violently on Monday. Rajapaksa supporters, who were taken to Colombo by bus, attacked anti-government protesters with sticks and clubs, and police used tear gas and water cannons. Police first imposed a curfew in Colombo, which was later extended nationwide. At least eight people have been killed and hundreds injured during the protests. According to the Defense Ministry, a ruling party lawmaker and two police officers were among the eight dead.

The EU condemned the violence against civilians and called for calm. Brussels called on the Sri Lankan authorities to “open an investigation into the events and hold accountable those who instigated or perpetrated the violence”.

In response to the serious riots, Rajapaksa and his entire cabinet resigned on Monday. On the other hand, the brother of the former Prime Minister, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, remains in office. He has extensive powers.

The largest opposition party has called for the president’s resignation due to the ongoing unrest. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa of the United Peoples’ Party said in Colombo that he was ready to serve as prime minister in a caretaker government. However, his party has made it a condition that after the resignation of the former head of government, the president should also resign from office.

The worst economic crisis in years

Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis in decades. In this state of about 22 million people, there is a shortage of fuel, food and medicine. The highly indebted country lacks money for imports. The Sri Lankan government is not repaying its high debts at the moment and wants to restructure them. The country is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and hopes for additional financial assistance from China and India.

Sri Lanka: Security forces ordered to fire

Peter Hornung, ARD New Delhi, 11 May 2022 09:23

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