Sri Lankan President Urges Protesters to Stop Violence in Country

© AFP 2023 / ISHARA S. KODIKARASecurity personnel walk past a burned vehicle along a road, a day after they were torched by protesters in Colombo on May 10, 2022.
Security personnel walk past a burned vehicle along a road, a day after they were torched by protesters in Colombo on May 10, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.05.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has urged government supporters and opponents engaged in mass protests and clashes triggered by economic and political crises in the country to stop violence and pledged to make every effort to restore political stability.
According to Sri Lankan media outlet News First, the clashes sweeping across the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo have killed seven people and injured 249 since Monday, with 232 having been hospitalised.
"I appeal and urge people to remain calm & stop violence & acts of revenge against citizens, irrespective of political affiliations. All efforts will be made to restore political stability through consensus, within constitutional mandate & to resolve economic crisis," Rajapaksa wrote on Twitter.
On Monday, groups of pro- and anti-government activists clashed in Colombo amid the state of emergency, which had been imposed on Friday, and a nationwide strike demanding the resignation of the president. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down from office in a bid to mitigate the ongoing crisis. The protesters set his and the president's houses on fire.
Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside the official residence of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo on 9 May, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
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The protesters also blocked the road to the country's international airport earlier in the day to prevent members of the ruling party from fleeing the country, according to the outlet.
Sri Lanka has been in a political deadlock caused by the country's worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948. The dire economic situation was caused by shortages of foreign currency as tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the country from purchasing enough fuel. The pandemic has also negatively impacted remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. There is an acute shortage of food and basic necessities, including fuel and gas, with many parts of the island nation facing continuous power blackouts.
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