Sri Lanka police use tear gas on protesters

 

Sri Lankan police on Friday fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse thousands of people protesting against rising living costs after the government increased fuel prices.

Protests have escalated across Sri Lanka since the government raised fuel prices by up to 35 percent and bus fares by 20 percent last weekend.

The central bank has also allowed the rupee to depreciate, making imports more expensive.

The main opposition United National Party on Friday rallied supporters against the fuel hike and to protest against what it called the government’s mishandling of the economy.

An opposition lawmaker was among those injured when police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd gathered outside Colombo’s main railway station in Fort, police said.

The government information department said 15 policemen were also injured in the protest.

Sri Lankan authorities say that price hikes were inevitable given rising world crude oil prices and have promised subsidies for bus owners, fishermen and taxi operators, who have also protested against higher prices.
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