Sri Lankan police shot and killed a protestor yesterday in an incident that quickly spread across social media. Police had opened fire on a crowd in the central town of Rambukkana, and at least three others were injured. Police said the protestor killed, a man, had refused to move from a railway line and had parked a fuel truck across the tracks. They said firing teargas at the crowd appeared to provoke the protestor, and they responded by firing live rounds
Sri Lanka is in the midst of a crisis as tens of thousands of protestors across the country have taken to the streets to demand the current president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resign from office. Rajapaksa and his powerful family hold a number of positions in Sri Lanka. One of the president’s brothers is Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, while another is the agriculture minister. The president’s nephew holds the cabinet post for sports.
Last month, Sri Lanka experienced the longest blackout ever recorded in the country. Many state-run hospitals had to stop surgeries because they had run out of life-saving medicines. This was on top of a shortage of essential goods, and high price spikes, caused by a broad import ban imposed in 2020 due to Sri Lanka’s debt.
Police chief Chandana Wickramaratne made a statement about the protestor’s death.
“I have already initiated an inquiry into the conduct of officers at Rambukkana”.
The crowds in Rambukkana had been protesting for about 15 hours demanding fuel, according to the BBC. Police spokesman Nihal Talduwa told the BBC police “had to fire” to control the crowd. He said some protestors had set fire to tyres.
Why was live ammunition fired against unarmed civilians? The Law & Order Minister must immediately issue instructions to Police to ensure that such violence is not unleashed on peaceful protestors across the island. I strongly condemn the use of excessive force! #Rambukkana #LKA
— Eran Wickramaratne (@EranWick) April 19, 2022
SOURCE: BBC |The Guardian | Bangkok Post
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