Sri Lanka lifts curfew after violent protests over economic crisis
The government has lifted the curfew in the capital, Colombo, after violent protests in recent days over the country’s economic crisis.
The Sri Lankan government announced the curfew would be lifted at 8 p.m. local on Nov. 26.
The curfew had been imposed on Nov. 25 to prevent violence during protests over the economic crisis.
“The security forces are withdrawing from the streets. The curfew has been lifted,” the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, said in a televised address.
He added that the government will continue to “work with the opposition” to address the country’s economic problems.
Sirisena, who took office in January, said he would ask the opposition for a “time-bound plan” to improve the country’s debt-ridden economy.
“We have to have a credible plan to reduce the fiscal deficit and the national debt,” he said.
“We need to have accountability and the rule of law.”
Sirisena said the government will be meeting with opposition leaders Wednesday to discuss the economy and other issues.
On Tuesday, the government released a statement saying that it would lift the curfew in Colombo and other major towns.
The statement added that the government would continue to monitor the situation and take action as necessary.
The announcement came after protesters clashed with police in Colombo and elsewhere
Sri Lanka protests: What you need to know
On Nov. 26, the government of Sri Lanka announced that the military would take control of the country’s crucial Hambantota port.
This announcement came after anti-riot police tried to disperse protesters in front of the presidential palace.
The protests, which have been ongoing for two months, are the worst in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s 26-year civil war in 2009.
They are also the largest since the election in January of Sri Lanka’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who took office in January.
Sirisena, who is from the opposition, had been tasked with addressing the country’s economic problems.
In his televised address, Sirisena said he will ask the opposition for a “time-bound plan” to improve the country’s debt-ridden economy.
What is happening?
Since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war in May 2009, the country has struggled with economic problems.
The key issue has been a huge debt burden, which grew even larger after the end of the war.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka’s public sector debt has grown to 97.5% of GDP, up from 70% before the war.
Public debt in Sri Lanka only grew because of the war. Before the war, the government was running a budget surplus.
As recently as 2006, Sri Lanka’s public debt was 39% of GDP.
Why is there unrest in Sri Lanka?
Protest in Sri Lanka developed over the past two months after the government announced major economic reforms, including a proposal to seize a controlling stake in the state-owned shipping company, the National Shipping Company of Sri Lanka (NSC).
Residents of Colombo, the capital, took to the streets in large numbers to object to the proposed NSC reforms.
The reforms would have transferred the NSC’s management to an independent board with government appointees.
The protesters demanded that the government instead take ownership of the NSC.
The government’s stated aim in moving to privatize the state-owned shipping company was to attract international shipping companies to bring services to the country.
How did it start?
The government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Nov. 25 in a bid to contain the protests.
The curfew was the eighth imposed by the government in two months.
In the early hours of Nov. 26, the military took control of the country’s Hambantota port, which Colombo is dependent on for supplies.
As the day progressed, protests spread to other cities and towns, including the capital’s commercial center, Colombo.
The government declared a state of emergency in parts of the eastern and northern provinces, and the military was deployed to contain the unrest.
Who is involved?
The main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), has been the focus of the protests.
The UNP entered into a coalition government with the Buddhist Sinhala nationalist grouping, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), in January.
The BBS and other Buddhist groups have been the driving force behind the protests.
The BBS is demanding the government’s resignation.
The main opposition Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has also called for protests.
The TNA has been in opposition for the past decade, but it has been weakened by infighting and coalition politics.
The TNA and the UNP have been in talks to form a coalition government, but those talks have faltered in recent weeks.
What is the government’s response?
The government has blamed the opposition for starting the protests.
Sirisena said the opposition was trying to politicize the country’s economic problems and “destabilize” the government.
Opposition leaders accuse the government of failing to respond to the economic problems of the country’s poorest.
The government has refused requests to meet with the leaders of the protests.
In his address, Sirisena said he will be asking opposition leaders for a plan “to reduce the fiscal deficit and the national debt.”
What happens next?
The government is likely to invoke a national security law to keep the protesters off the streets.
The government has also said it will investigate the financial dealings of opposition leaders who have been accused of misusing state funds.
The government will also be meeting with representatives of the private sector on Wednesday to discuss the economic problems.
In the long term, the economic problems in Sri Lanka are likely to continue.
The country needs to reduce the fiscal deficit and the public debt.
At the same time, the government needs to ensure that the basic needs of the people are met.
As long as the government is not responsive to the concerns of the people, unrest is likely to continue.