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Social media blocked and curfew in Sri Lanka as protests spread: 10 points

Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency amid its worst economic crisis.

Sri Lanka’s government, grappling with unrest over the economic crisis, has blocked access to all social media sites in its latest attempt to quell protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

  1. Access to all social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube, following a government order late Saturday. The Sri Lankan government said the decision was made to stem misinformation.

  2. “The blocking of social media is temporary and imposed due to special instructions issued by the Ministry of Defense, the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission said. “It was imposed in the interest of the country and the people of maintain calm,” commission president Jayantha de Silva told Reuters.

  3. A 36-hour curfew is already in place in the island nation of 22 million people. The curfew, which began at 6 p.m. Saturday, was imposed until 6 a.m. Monday – a period that covers planned mass anti-government protests over worsening fuel, food and medicine shortages.

  4. The curfew and state of emergency in the near-bankrupt country came as social media posts called for protests on Sunday. “Don’t be deterred by the tear gas, they will soon run out of dollars to restock,” said a message encouraging people to protest even as police try to disperse the gatherings.

  5. Tough laws allow the military to arrest and detain suspects for long periods without trial. In his defence, Mr Rajapaksa said the state of emergency was necessary to protect public order and maintain essential supplies and services.

  6. Sri Lanka faces an acute shortage of foreign currency to pay for even the most essential imports. Hundreds of people defied the curfew and gathered in several suburban towns, police and residents said.

  7. “#GoHomeRajapaksas” and “#GotaGoHome” have been trending for days on Twitter and Facebook in the island nation, which is battling severe shortages of essentials, steep price hikes and crippling power outages in its most recessionary recession. most painful since independence from Britain in 1948.

  8. The current crisis – the result of economic mismanagement by successive governments – has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected tourism and remittances. It also marked a sharp shift in political support for Mr Rajapaksa, who came to power in 2019 on a promise of stability.

  9. The government said it was seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and loans from India and China. New Delhi recently announced that it would extend a $1 billion line of credit to Colombo as part of its financial assistance to the country to deal with the economic crisis after a previous $500 billion line of credit in February for help him buy petroleum products.

  10. India also delivered a shipment of 40,000 metric tons of diesel to Sri Lanka on Saturday, the fourth such aid from New Delhi, to ease the spike in power cuts in the island nation.


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