US Envoy urges authorities to exercise restraint


US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, yesterday (20) urged authorities to exercise restraint as tensions were rising in Sri Lanka over fuel and food shortages.

She tweeted, “As petrol lines and power cuts increase, tensions are naturally rising too. But boiling over will not address Sri Lanka’s urgent need.” She further noted,“I urge authorities to exercise restraint when people are undergoing suffering in the country under these difficult circumstances. Any excessive use of force should be quickly investigated.”

Sri Lankans took to social media to highlight that the detention of peaceful protesters at GotaGoGama(GGG) and other protest sites was uncalled for.“The Government must stop immediately and release all those who were detained with no evidence of wrongdoing. People have every right to demonstrate against ineffective leaders”, many tweeted yesterday.

Yesterday at the GGG over 21 persons were taken into custody where protesters say they were peacefully protesting. Meanwhile security was tightened around the protest site as  President Gotabaya Rajapaksa celebrated his 73th birthday. More troops were deployed at the Galle Face promenade where a tense situation prevailed.

There is ongoing unrest in many parts of the country as fuel and kerosene distribution had come to a halt which led to clashes between the Police and fuel consumers. Police attacks on people standing in the queue were reported in many places in the last few days.

Meanwhile, protesters blocked the Finance Ministry entrance and delayed the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance from attending the International Monetary Fund discussions, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“Protests need not stop, but they cannot hinder economic recovery efforts in the country,” an official working for the Prime Minister tweeted.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan