Violent protests in Sri Lanka: President declares state of emergency again

Status: 07.05.2022 12:45 p.m.

The Sri Lankan president declared a state of emergency again last night. Police had previously used tear gas against protesters. Again there were protests against mismanagement and corruption.

By Peter Hornung, ARD Studio South Asia

It is an escalation that many feared: the police used tear gas against students who were protesting against the president and the government in front of parliament. They said they wanted to storm. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa responded last night.

“The government declared a state of emergency at midnight,” said Catholic priest Jeevantha Piris. “This is the 27th day of the non-violent struggle of the people of Sri Lanka against the dictatorial tyranny of the Rajapaksa regime. When it abuses its power to restrict freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and violate human rights man, we say to the whole world: We will defend ourselves.”

Allegations of Mismanagement and Cooperation

It is a protest of all social groups, Sinhalese as well as Tamils, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics and Muslims. “Gota” should leave, they demand. It means President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. And with him the government he appointed.

The president is accused of mismanagement and corruption. His family, long in power in Sri Lanka with interruptions, would have grown rich. The Rajapaks are to blame for the fact that the island state is currently experiencing an economic crisis like never before.

“The country is in a state of emergency”, Sybille Licht, ARD New Delhi, on the protests against the government in Sri Lanka

tagesschau24 10:00 a.m., 7.5.2022

Fierce discussions also in Parliament

We protested peacefully here on the beach promenade for four weeks,” said one protester. “But now, with the emergency law, we condemn this in the strongest terms. The police acted with all severity against the demonstration. It won’t work to end the protests with a state of emergency. For that, the president must resign. The Prime Minister. And the whole government.”

Heated discussions also took place in the Sri Lankan parliament. Protesters were angry, he added. If there were no security fences, they would have already stormed the building. The opposition, meanwhile, is calling for a vote of no confidence in the government to be allowed. But she wants to prevent this – because she fears it will lead to the downfall of the Rajapaksas. However, the government has just won an important vote: it was able to install her husband as the new speaker of parliament.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa refuses to resign.

Image: Photo Alliance/AP Photo

Sri Lanka is virtually bankrupt

Meanwhile, this week, it looked like the president wanted to back down. Rumors had circulated that he had accepted an interim government. But nothing happened. The unions had called a national strike for yesterday. Millions of Sri Lankans lost their jobs as a result.

Meanwhile, people continue to suffer from the economic crisis. There is a lack of fuel and medicine. Many people can no longer afford food, the national currency had already fallen in March. Sri Lanka is virtually bankrupt. The country’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $50 million this week from $1.9 billion earlier. People are now hoping that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will help the country. And they also hope that the situation will not worsen further.

Sri Lanka: President reimposes state of emergency

Peter Hornung, ARD New Delhi, 7.5.2022 11:52

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