Journalism of Courage

Sri Lankan students demand government resign as economic hardship grows

The country’s foreign reserves are nearly gone and it is unable to import food, fuel, cooking gas and medicines. A lack of fuel to run power stations has resulted in long daily power cuts.

Sri Lanka’s university students in thousands marched in capital Colombo demanding the president and prime minister resign over an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of essential supplies and disrupted people’s livelihoods and education.

President Rajapaksa has admitted he did not take steps to forestall the economic collapse early enough, but has refused to leave office, according to national TV monitored by Persecondnews.com .

The students say President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is responsible for the economic crisis, the worst since independence in 1948. They also claim that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took over the position a little more than a month ago promising to end shortages, has not delivered on his pledges.

Sri Lanka is nearly bankrupt and has suspended repayment of $7 billion in foreign debt due this year. It must also pay back more than $5bn every year until 2026.

The country’s foreign reserves are nearly gone and it is unable to import food, fuel, cooking gas and medicines. A lack of fuel to run power stations has resulted in long daily power cuts.

In recent months, people have been forced to stand in long lines to buy fuel and gas. This has meant the country has survived mostly on credit lines extended by neighbouring India to buy fuel and other essentials.

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