Sri Lanka president blames 'extremist' group for violence amid economic crisis
Protesters in Sri Lanka clashed with the police outside the residence of President Rajapaksa in Mirihana.
Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office blamed an unidentified 'extremist' group for creating the violent situation during the protest near the Jubilee Post in Nugegoda, Colombo, the Colombo Page reported citing President's media division's press release.
The mob armed with iron clubs, sickles and clubs marched towards the Sri Lankan President's residence at Mirihana Pangiriwatta, to provoke the protesters and create a riot-like situation in the city, according to the statement.
The statement further revealed the police has arrested several people who were involved in the protest and many of them were identified as organized extremists. It further added that they have spearheaded the protest calling for an Arab Spring in Sri Lanka.
The detainees revealed that the riots were carried out using social media to provoke the people and destabilize the country, the statement added.
The protest was staged on Thursday over the government's failure to address the existing issues in the island nation.
The protesters clashed with the police outside the residence of President Rajapaksa in Mirihana. A bus attached to the Sri Lanka Army and a jeep were set on fire by protesters. Moreover, police have imposed a curfew in several areas in Colombo.
Read more: Sri Lanka crisis: 45 arrested after night of violence leaves at least 10 injured
"Police curfew imposed until further notice with immediate effect within Colombo North, Colombo South, Colombo Central and Nugegoda Police Division," said Inspector General of Police, reported Daily Mirror.
After the protest, at least ten people were injured including journalists.
Six people were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital after sustaining injuries following clashes between protestors and police in Mirihana. Another four patients were admitted to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila, Daily Mirror reported.
Sri Lanka's economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.
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Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a food, fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance.
Sri Lanka is witnessing at least 10-hour daily power cuts. Sri Lanka's currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8.