Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Protesters demonstrating over living costs hit with tear gas and water cannon

A supporter of Sri Lanka’s main opposition covers his face as police fire water cannons to disperse protesters (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
A supporter of Sri Lanka’s main opposition covers his face as police fire water cannons to disperse protesters (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lanka’s police used tear gas and water cannons on Tuesday to disperse an opposition protest in the island nation facing its worst economic crisis while gearing up for a national election later this year.

Protesters from the main opposition United People’s Power party gathered in the capital, Colombo, and accused President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s administration of overburdening citizens by increasing taxes, as well as hiking prices for electricity and fuel, causing a sharp spike in living costs.

“The government is not concerned with the people suffering and being unable to provide for themselves,” said opposition lawmaker Sarath Fonseka who was at the protest.

“People can no longer pay their bills or buy their children school supplies,” he said.

Sri Lanka Opposition Protest
Supporters of Sri Lanka’s main opposition shout slogans during a protest rally in Colombo (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Mr Fonseka said that “people must rise” and vote against the current government in the coming election.

Earlier on Tuesday, at least two courts prohibited protesters from marching along roads leading to vital buildings including the president’s office, finance ministry and the central bank.

Instead, two areas in the capital were assigned for the protest.

Police used tear gas and water canons twice to disperse the protesters as they tried to move out of the designated areas.

However, the opposition said it planned more protests across the country in the coming weeks.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst-ever economic crisis in 2022.

It had declared bankruptcy in April the same year with more than £65 billion in debt, leading to strident protests that caused the removal of then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The International Monetary Fund approved a four-year bailout programme last March to help the south Asian country.

The government defended the measures taken, saying they were necessary to meet the IMF targets, assure the country’s debt was sustainable, and win over the trust of the international community again.

Sri Lanka’s parliament elected the current president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, in July 2022 and under him, shortages of essential goods have largely been abated.

But the opposition accuses him of stifling dissent by cracking down on protesters.

Last week, the parliament, where the ruling coalition enjoys a majority, overwhelmingly approved an internet regulation bill that was highly criticised for creating “a very oppressive environment.”