Shortly after a countrywide curfew went into effect, protests broke out in parts of Sri Lanka. People holding signs calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lined the streets of Homagama and chanted slogans such as “we have too many problems, gasoline, medicine, milk. We have too many problems” and “this is our country. This is the struggle of the people. Go, get lost.”
Sri Lanka declared a 36-hour nationwide curfew that began this Saturday night at 6:00 pm local time, effectively preventing protests planned for Sunday in the capital and other cities in the country.
There were so many people on the streets of suburban Colombo on Saturday night that it looked more like chaos than a curfew, according to an eyewitness.
Amnesty International has condemned the curfew, saying on Twitter that it should not be used to violate human rights. “The order declaring a state of emergency is intended to restrict the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and movement, as well as due process guarantees,” Amnesty International South Asia said.
The Sri Lanka Bar Association has called on the president to repeal the emergency law.
Sri Lanka is going through a financial crisis as a result of a billion-dollar foreign exchange deficit, which has led to severe shortages of essential items, including fuel. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the country’s tourism industry, adding to the unrest.