HomeWorldSri Lanka disperses student rally after partial protest ban

Sri Lanka disperses student rally after partial protest ban

President Wickremesinghe on Friday ordered a ban on all demonstrations and protests near key institutions, including his office and the homes of top military officials.

President Wickremesinghe on Friday ordered a ban on all demonstrations and protests near key institutions, including his office and the homes of top military officials.

Sri Lankan police dispersed hundreds of protesters on Saturday, a day after protest rights were severely curtailed in response to months of unrest caused by a sharp economic downturn in the island nation.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken a tough stand against activists who forced his predecessor to flee the country and resign in July. country’s crisis,

Hours after the government declared the city center a “high-security zone”, officials in anti-riot gear halted student marches, sparking protests in the surrounding area.

Read also | India will continue to support Sri Lanka in ‘every possible way’: High Commission

Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse protesters demanding the release of fellow activists detained under anti-terrorism laws.

Witnesses saw the police detained dozens of participants.

Mr Wickremesinghe on Friday ordered a ban on all demonstrations and protests near key institutions, including his office and the homes of military top officials.

Sri Lanka’s influential Bar Association condemned the ban, saying it seriously undermines freedom of expression and assembly.

A statement said the order “attempts to curtail the liberty of a citizen, without any reasonable or legal basis.”

Sri Lanka faced acute food and fuel shortages, extended blackouts and runaway inflation in months after it ran out of foreign currency to finance essential imports this year.

At the height of the resulting unrest, thousands stormed the residence of then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, forcing him to flee the country.

The government has defaulted on $51 billion of its foreign debt and is finalizing an International Monetary Fund bailout.

Soon after Wickremesinghe came to power, troops demolished a long-running protest site outside the presidential office and arrested hundreds of people who had taken part in the demonstrations.

Police say three student leaders have been detained under anti-terrorism laws, while the rest have been released on bail.

Mr. Rajapaksa returned home earlier this month and remains under the protection of the government, despite calls to prosecute him for atrocities committed during Sri Lanka’s long civil war and for corruption charges while in office.

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