Sri Lanka protests 2022

Article

May 22, 2022

Sri Lanka protests 2022 (Sinhala: ලාංකික ; Tamil: மக்கள் ) also known as the 2022 People Power Revolution is an ongoing series of protests by various non-partisan protesters, mainly the general public and opposition political parties against the government of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, accused of mismanaging Sri Lanka's economy which resulted in economic crisis with severe inflation, daily blackouts of up to 10 hours, shortage of fuel and many other essentials. The protesters' main demand is for the government run by the Rajapaksa family to step down immediately, paving the way for an entirely new democratic ruler. Most of the protesters are not allied with any political party, and some have even expressed dissatisfaction with the current parliamentary opposition. Protesters usually shout slogans such as "Pulang Gota", "Pulang Rajapaksa". The protests were mostly carried out by the general public including teachers, students, doctors, nurses, IT professionals, farmers, lawyers, social activists, sportsmen, engineers, and some police officers with no direct political affiliation with most of the protesters considering themselves apolitical. Several protests have been carried out by individuals with political connections and political parties but have since collapsed due to lack of support. Sri Lanka's youth population has played a major role in bringing about the protests at Galle Face Green, chanting slogans such as "You have messed with the wrong generation" and "Don't play with our future". Protesters targeted Rajapaksa family members and politicians. government. The government in retaliation uses authoritarian methods such as declaring a state of emergency that allows the military to arrest civilians, imposing curfews, restricting social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber and YouTube, attacking protesters and journalists, and arresting online activists. These measures increased popular disapproval of the government, and the Sri Lankan diaspora also started demonstrations against the suppression of human rights. Social media blocking has also backfired as Sri Lankans overuse VPNs causing hashtags like #GoHomeRajapaksa and #GoHomeGota to trend in countries like the United States, Singapore, and Germany. In addition, Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission condemned the act and summoned the officials responsible for blocking and harassment of protesters. On April 3, all 26 members of Rajapaksa Gotabaya Second's cabinet except Prime Minister Rajapaksa resigned en masse. However, critics noted that the resignations were illegitimate because they did not follow constitutional protocol and thus dismissed them as "fake", and some were rehired in different ministries the following day. The head of the whipping government Johnston Fernando insisted that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would not resign under any circumstances despite widespread calls from protesters, the opposition and the general public.

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