Colombo, Oct 27 (EFE).- Thousands of people on Thursday gathered in the Sri Lankan capital to protest against the government over the rising living costs triggered by the severe economic crisis that has affected the country for months, as well as state repression against protesters.
The demonstration, organized by the Trade Union Coordination Center, was one of the largest since President Ranil Wickremesinghe assumed office in July, following the ouster and self-exile of his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The protesters raised their voice against rising food prices on the island, which have affected the quality of life for over 22 million Sri Lankans as they face the worst economic crisis in history, driven by massive debt and shortage of foreign currency.
“I was working at a factory earlier. Now I am at home because staying home is cheaper than going to work. Food is expensive, transport is expensive, and going to work in this economy is expensive,” MG Nethuki told EFE at the site.
“I don’t see these politicians resolving this cost-of-living crisis,” she added, hoping for a change in the government.
Another protester, Pradeep Sanjeewa of the the Socialist Youth Union, voiced fis frustration over the difficult future ahead for the country’s youth.
“Youth, like me, in this country has no future. There is also a massive crackdown on protesters. We came here to protest the government and the way it is treating dissenters,” he told EFE.
As per the latest data of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, general year-on-year inflation rose to record 73.7 percent in September, while food inflation stood at 85.8 percent.
Wickremesinghe acknowledged in the parliament recently that despite the government trying to resolve the crisis little by little, the economy had completely collapsed, especially in recent months that witnessed shortages of fuel and commodities as well as power cuts lasting up to 13 hours.
“I embarked on this journey taking a huge risk. At a time when no other political party or leader of the opposition would accept this risk, I accepted the risk for the country and embarked on a dangerous journey. We have progressed gradually, but steadily”, the president said.
However, most of the protesters on Thursday said they had no confidence in the president.
“We simply want Ranil to go. There is no other solution,” KR Jayanthi, a teacher, told EFE. EFE