Sri Lankan govt bans social media platforms amid protests

The administration of Sri Lanka has blocked all access to social media and imposed a curfew of 36 hours following a protest against food and fuel shortages.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a formal notice prohibiting anyone from being on any public road, park, train, or seashore until or unless they have written permission from the authorities.

The curfew began at nightfall on Saturday.

The social media sites which are on the blocklist include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Even the famous Chit-Chat app is also down, and mobile users are getting a message saying this, “as directed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.”

On Thursday, the strict restrictions aim to prevent new protests after crowds were charged with setting vehicles ablaze near the president’s private residence.

The island nation is in the depth of a significant economic crisis.

This is all happening in the country because of a lack of foreign currency used to pay for fuel imports.

Sri Lanka residents’ anger is at its peak and a new height because of the severe power cuts lasting half a day or more and a lack of fuel and essential food and medicines.

Moreover, the Thursday protest, which occurred outside President Rajapaksa’s Colombo house, started peacefully, but as per participants, things turned violent after police fired tear gas and water cannons and also beat people present.

Protesters punished against the police by pelting them with stones.

According to official sources, at least twenty-four police personnel were reportedly injured during the clashes.

On Friday, 53 protesters were arrested, and as per the local media reports, police also arrested five news photographers and tortured them at the police station. The government stated that they would investigate the latter claim.

Despite the crackdown, protests continued and extended to other parts of the country.

Protestors in the capital carried placards calling for the president’s resignation. The rallies mark a massive reversal in popularity for Mr. Rajapaksa, who cleaned into power with a majority win in 2019, promising stability and a “strong hand” to rule the country.