Sri Lanka police arrest hundreds of suspects over May 9 violent protest

Newly appointed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe assures nation to resolve ongoing economic crisis soon

2022-05-16 13:12:44

ANKARA

Sri Lankan police have arrested hundreds of suspects in connection with last week's violent protest, as the government tackles a worsening economic crisis.

According to News 1st, a local media outlet, the police have arrested 159 people after receiving 756 complaints of violence.

Police spokesperson Nihal Thalduwa said their teams are working to arrest more suspects who were part of the clashes last week, which saw at least nine people, including a ruling party parliamentarian and a police officer, killed and many others injured.

People took to the streets late March, protesting hours-long daily power cuts and shortages of food, fuel, and other vital goods after a foreign exchange shortage led to the island nation's worst-ever economic crisis.

Military units were called to the capital Colombo and the government declared a nationwide curfew. It also ordered troops to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to life.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign as premier, and protesters across the Buddhist-majority nation continue to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda's younger brother.

Ranil Wickremesinghe took charge as prime minister for a sixth time, but even his appointment has failed to quell public anger at the government for bringing Sri Lanka to the brink of economic collapse.

"There is a lot to be done and undone," Wickremesinghe said in a tweet on Sunday, adding that the government has "managed to get things moving in the last 48 hours." Authorities are also in the talks with the International Monetary Fund to overcome the current crisis.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid