The policeman has blown tear bombs to stop struggles as the curfew in Sri Lanka has been implemented

Colombo, April 3 (Reuters) – Police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesting students in central Sri Lanka on Sunday as the army raided checkpoints in the capital to enforce a curfew imposed to quell public outrage caused by the economic crisis, a federal parliamentarian said. .

Lakshman Kiriella, a Member of Parliament for Kandy, the second largest city, said police used tear gas to disperse students protesting against the government near Peradeniya University.

“These students have come out in violation of the curfew and the police have fired tear gas to disperse them,” said Kiriella of the opposition Samagi Jana Multipurpose Party. The university is located on the outskirts of Kandy, where students were detained by police, he said.

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Police officers in Kandy did not respond to Reuters’ calls for comment.

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Friday declared a state of emergency as the Indian Ocean island nation was gripped by rising prices, shortages of essential commodities and power cuts. On Saturday, as the protest turned violent, the government enforced a nationwide curfew. It runs until 6am on Monday (0030 GMT). read more

Critics say the roots of the worst crisis in decades lie in the mismanagement of successive governments, which have accumulated large budget deficits and current account deficits.

The crisis was accelerated by the deep tax cuts Rajapakse promised during the 2019 election campaign and was passed just months before the COVID-19 epidemic that devastated parts of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Social media was restored

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In the capital Colombo on Sunday, about two dozen opposition leaders set up police barricades on their way to Independence Square, with some shouting “Go to Kota (Baya) home.”

Opposition leader Eran Wickremaratne said this was unacceptable. “This is democracy.”

Small groups in Colombo marched outside their homes, some carrying handwritten banners and others with national flags.

In the afternoon the government lifted the ban on social media sites a few hours earlier. Internet blocking network NetBlocks says access to Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Instagram has been blocked nationwide.

Namal Rajapakse, the president’s son – in – law and youth and sports minister, said on his Twitter account that he would “never forgive the disabling of social media.”

Emergency authorities in the past have allowed the military to detain and detain suspects without warrant, but the terms of the current powers are not yet clear.

Troops and police fired assault rifles at checkpoints in Colombo on Sunday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Nihal Taltuwa said 664 people had been arrested by police in the country’s most populous administrative division, the Upper Province, for violating the curfew.

Western and Asian diplomats based in Sri Lanka said they were monitoring the situation and hoped the government would allow citizens to hold peaceful demonstrations.

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Rupam Jain wrote; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and William Mallard

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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