To prevent further unrest after protesters took to the streets blaming the government for the country’s economic crisis, Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide curfew from Saturday evening until Monday morning, in addition to the state of emergency declared by the President. Additionally, Sri Lanka has blocked access to numerous social media platforms in a bid to prevent further protests accusing the government, according to the AP report.
Here are the main updates to this great story:
Internet users in most parts of Sri Lanka were unable to access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and other social media platforms on Sunday. Netblocks, a global internet monitor, has confirmed that network data collected from more than 100 vantage points across Sri Lanka showed the restrictions take effect on multiple providers from midnight, according to PA report.
It comes at a time when the island nation is under a nationwide curfew from Saturday night to Monday morning after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency. Social media platforms had been used to call for protests demanding the president’s resignation, claiming he was responsible for the economic crisis.
Additionally, India on Saturday delivered 40,000 tonnes of diesel to Sri Lanka to help ease the power crisis in the island country which is experiencing severe power cuts. Part of India’s US$500 million Petroleum Line of Credit (LoC) to Sri Lanka, this is the fourth shipment of fuel delivered from India to Sri Lanka under the line of credit. credit. Additionally, India has provided around 200,000 tonnes of fuel to the island nation in the past 50 days, according to the news agency. ANI report.
Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa assumed emergency powers at midnight on Friday amid calls for protests across the country on Sunday, as anger over shortages of essential food, fuel and long blackouts current overflowed this week.
Rajapaksa’s declaration of emergency gives him broad powers to preserve public order, suppress mutinies, riots or civil unrest or to maintain essential supplies. In urgent cases, the President may authorize detentions, seizure of property and search of premises. He can also amend or suspend any law except the constitution.
Sri Lanka faces huge debts and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, and its struggle to pay for its imports has resulted in a lack of basic supplies. People wait in long queues for gas, and electricity is cut for several hours a day because there is not enough fuel to run power stations and dry weather has undermined the hydroelectric capacity.
The country’s economic crisis is blamed on the failure of successive governments to diversify exports, relying instead on traditional sources of cash like tea, clothing and tourism, and on a culture of consuming imported goods.
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the economy, with the government estimating a loss of $14 billion over the past two years. Protesters also decry mismanagement – Sri Lanka has a huge foreign debt after borrowing heavily on projects that don’t bring in money. Its foreign debt repayment obligations amount to about $7 billion this year alone.
(With agency contributions)
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