Sri Lankan Military Ordered to Shoot Marauders, Vandals on Spot, Reports Say
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sri Lankan military received an order to shoot rioters engaging in looting or vandalism on the spot, national media reported on Tuesday, citing the country's defence ministry.
On Monday, groups of pro- and anti-government activists clashed in Colombo amid the state of emergency, imposed on Friday, and a nationwide strike demanding the resignation of the president. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down from office in a bid to mitigate the ongoing crisis. The protesters set his and the president's houses on fire.
According to the Colombo Gazette online news portal, the order was issued due to an increase in the number of arsons and instances of public property destruction by protesters across the country.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged the protesters to stop violence and pledged to make every effort to restore political stability in the country.
Sri Lanka has been suffering from the worst economic crisis in the country's history since gaining independence in 1948. The dire economic situation was caused by shortages of foreign currency as tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the country from purchasing enough fuel. The pandemic has also negatively impacted remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. There is an acute shortage of food and basic necessities, including fuel and gas, with many parts of the island nation facing continuous power blackouts.