Violence and protesters surround the president's house,What is happening in Sri Lanka?

Violence and protesters surround the president's house.. What is happening in Sri Lanka? Officials in the Sri Lankan government announced on Friday the tightening of security measures to cordon off the protests that erupted in the country, against the backdrop of the economic crisis it is going through. The confrontations resulted in deaths and injuries, while officials claimed that "terrorists" were behind these protests.  Security forces deployed in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday, a day after hundreds of angry protesters tried to storm the home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to protest the way his government handled the unprecedented economic crisis in the country for seven decades.  The South Asian country of 22 million people is facing severe shortages of basic goods, soaring prices and power cuts in its worst crisis since independence in 1948. Many fear it will default on its foreign debt.  Hundreds of men and women gathered on Thursday night outside Gotabaya Rajapaksa's private home in the capital, demanding that he step down, after calls from anonymous activists spread on social media.  Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, and the crowd violently confronted them, setting fire to two army buses, a police SUV, two patrol motorcycles, and a three-wheeled vehicle. The demonstrators also threw stones at the police and the army.  At least two demonstrators were wounded after security forces fired to disperse the crowd, but it was not immediately clear whether they used live bullets or rubber bullets. Four people were hit by a security car.  The police announced the arrest of 53 people, while local media reported that five news photographers had been arrested and tortured at a local police station, a charge the government said it would investigate.  Demonstrators blocked with burning tires a main road leading to the capital.  A nighttime curfew was lifted early Friday morning, but the deployment of the army and police was boosted across the city as the charred structure of a bus still blocked the road to the president's home.  Officials confirmed tighter security measures across the country after calls for protests later Friday.  Social media posts called on people to demonstrate peacefully outside their homes.   Terrorists are behind the unrest  Two ministers in the government confirmed that a major failure in the intelligence system put the life of the president and his wife at risk.  "The president and his wife were at their home at the time of the protests," Health Minister Kehelia Rambukwila told reporters in Colombo, ruling out previous allegations that they were abroad at the time.  He said, "We had information about a demonstration, but it was not expected that it might turn violent. This is a major intelligence failure."  For his part, Transport Minister Dilum Amunogama said that "terrorists" were behind the unrest.  On Friday, the president's office believed that the demonstrators wanted to create an "Arab Spring", in reference to the demonstrations that swept countries in the Middle East, protesting against corruption and economic hardship for more than a decade.  "The demonstration on Thursday night was led by extremist forces calling for an Arab Spring to sow instability in our country," the president's office said in a brief statement.  Videos posted on social media showed women and men chanting anti-President and calling for all members of the powerful Rajapaksa family to step down.  Social media posts reported that another influential member of the ruling family was prevented from attending a flower show in the central hills on Friday after onlookers began booing.  President Mahinda's older brother heads the government, while the younger Basil holds the finance portfolio, and his older brother and nephew hold portfolios in the government.  The crisis in Sri Lanka has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wiped out tourism and dried up remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad.  Many economists consider that the crisis has been exacerbated by government mismanagement and years of borrowing.   Record inflation rates  The latest official data released on Friday showed that the inflation rate in Colombo reached 18.7% in the past March, which is the sixth monthly record in a row.  Food prices rose by a record 30.1%.  Colombo imposed a broad import ban in March 2020 in a bid to provide the foreign currency needed to repay nearly $7 billion this year to service its $51 billion debt.  The diesel shortage sparked protests in Sri Lanka recently, but the demonstrations swept across the various towns and did not target any senior official.  Diesel was not available Thursday at stations across the island, according to officials and media reports.  And the government authority that monopolizes electricity announced a 13-hour rationing from Thursday, the longest period ever, because diesel generators are not available.  Many government hospitals stopped performing surgeries due to the lack of necessary medicines.   The government announced that it was seeking a rescue plan from the International Monetary Fund, and requested more loans from India and China.  Fund spokesman Jerry Rice told reporters in Washington Thursday that talks will begin "in the coming days" with the Sri Lankan Finance Minister, who is expected to arrive in the US capital.

Officials in the Sri Lankan government announced on Friday the tightening of security measures to cordon off the protests that erupted in the country, against the backdrop of the economic crisis it is going through. The confrontations resulted in deaths and injuries, while officials claimed that "terrorists" were behind these protests.

Security forces deployed in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday, a day after hundreds of angry protesters tried to storm the home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to protest the way his government handled the unprecedented economic crisis in the country for seven decades.

The South Asian country of 22 million people is facing severe shortages of basic goods, soaring prices and power cuts in its worst crisis since independence in 1948. Many fear it will default on its foreign debt.

Hundreds of men and women gathered on Thursday night outside Gotabaya Rajapaksa's private home in the capital, demanding that he step down, after calls from anonymous activists spread on social media.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, and the crowd violently confronted them, setting fire to two army buses, a police SUV, two patrol motorcycles, and a three-wheeled vehicle. The demonstrators also threw stones at the police and the army.

At least two demonstrators were wounded after security forces fired to disperse the crowd, but it was not immediately clear whether they used live bullets or rubber bullets. Four people were hit by a security car.

The police announced the arrest of 53 people, while local media reported that five news photographers had been arrested and tortured at a local police station, a charge the government said it would investigate.

Demonstrators blocked with burning tires a main road leading to the capital.

A nighttime curfew was lifted early Friday morning, but the deployment of the army and police was boosted across the city as the charred structure of a bus still blocked the road to the president's home.

Officials confirmed tighter security measures across the country after calls for protests later Friday.

Social media posts called on people to demonstrate peacefully outside their homes.


Terrorists are behind the unrest

Two ministers in the government confirmed that a major failure in the intelligence system put the life of the president and his wife at risk.

"The president and his wife were at their home at the time of the protests," Health Minister Kehelia Rambukwila told reporters in Colombo, ruling out previous allegations that they were abroad at the time.

He said, "We had information about a demonstration, but it was not expected that it might turn violent. This is a major intelligence failure."

For his part, Transport Minister Dilum Amunogama said that "terrorists" were behind the unrest.

On Friday, the president's office believed that the demonstrators wanted to create an "Arab Spring", in reference to the demonstrations that swept countries in the Middle East, protesting against corruption and economic hardship for more than a decade.

"The demonstration on Thursday night was led by extremist forces calling for an Arab Spring to sow instability in our country," the president's office said in a brief statement.

Videos posted on social media showed women and men chanting anti-President and calling for all members of the powerful Rajapaksa family to step down.

Social media posts reported that another influential member of the ruling family was prevented from attending a flower show in the central hills on Friday after onlookers began booing.

President Mahinda's older brother heads the government, while the younger Basil holds the finance portfolio, and his older brother and nephew hold portfolios in the government.

The crisis in Sri Lanka has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wiped out tourism and dried up remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad.

Many economists consider that the crisis has been exacerbated by government mismanagement and years of borrowing.


Record inflation rates

The latest official data released on Friday showed that the inflation rate in Colombo reached 18.7% in the past March, which is the sixth monthly record in a row.

Food prices rose by a record 30.1%.

Colombo imposed a broad import ban in March 2020 in a bid to provide the foreign currency needed to repay nearly $7 billion this year to service its $51 billion debt.

The diesel shortage sparked protests in Sri Lanka recently, but the demonstrations swept across the various towns and did not target any senior official.

Diesel was not available Thursday at stations across the island, according to officials and media reports.

And the government authority that monopolizes electricity announced a 13-hour rationing from Thursday, the longest period ever, because diesel generators are not available.

Many government hospitals stopped performing surgeries due to the lack of necessary medicines.


The government announced that it was seeking a rescue plan from the International Monetary Fund, and requested more loans from India and China.

Fund spokesman Jerry Rice told reporters in Washington Thursday that talks will begin "in the coming days" with the Sri Lankan Finance Minister, who is expected to arrive in the US capital.
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