Sri Lanka police ordered to use live ammunition on anti-government protesters
© WikiMedia (AntanO)
Sri Lanka police ordered to use live ammunition on anti-government protesters

Sri Lankan security officials were given orders Wednesday to use live ammunition against protesters to prevent “anarchy” amid anti-government protests and an economic crisis in the island nation.

Sri Lanka, which is facing its worst economic crisis since the country declared independence from Britain in 1948, has been “rocked” with violence amid supply shortages, a currency devaluation, and mass government resignations. Both police and the armed forces confirmed they had been ordered to use “live ammunition” on those found to be involved in violence or vandalism against public property.

Police reported that nine people have died since Monday and over 200 were injured in clashes in the city of Colombo, where armed forces have been trying to maintain order. The most recent bout of protests was in response to the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the nation’s prime minister, on Monday. Rajapaksa had to be evacuated from his home on Tuesday as protesters tried to storm the building.

After defaulting on Sri Lanka’s $51 billion in foreign debt, central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said “The country was fast going down a slope when I took over just over a month ago. I thought we were able to apply the brakes, but with events of Monday the brakes no longer work.” He urged the nation to appoint a new government, with a warning that if they do not, “The economy will completely collapse and no one will be able to save it.”