Over 660 People Reportedly Arrested for Participation in Sri Lanka Riots
NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - The Sri Lankan authorities have arrested over 660 people for participating in riots on 9 and 10 May, Sri Lankan media outlet News First reported on Tuesday, citing police.
A total number of people arrested due to the violent clashes, which took place on 9-10 May, has increased to 664, with 206 already released on bail, according to the report.
Over the past 24 hours, 258 people have been arrested, of which 67 were released on bail, the report says, adding that 43 have been remanded.
On 9 May, clashes broke out in Sri Lanka between supporters and opponents of the ruling party Sri Lanka People's Front. The unrest in the country's capital began after several thousand supporters of the ruling party, brought by buses from the countryside, attacked the opposition's campsite, and later clashed with them at a rally near the residences of the prime minister and the president of the country. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds. Nine people, including two police officers, were killed and more than 240 injured in the riots, according to the police.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down from office in a bid to mitigate the ongoing crisis after the protesters set his and the president's houses on fire.
Sri Lanka is in a political deadlock caused by the country's worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948. The dire economic situation was caused by shortages of foreign currency as tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the country from purchasing enough fuel. The pandemic has also negatively impacted remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. There is an acute shortage of food and basic necessities, including fuel and gas, with many parts of the island nation facing continuous power blackouts. Sri Lanka's external debt is estimated at $51 billion.
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