Police Shot Sri Lankan Protesters

Sri Lankan police said one died and 24 were wounded on Tuesday during a clash with residents demonstrating against the government over a crippling economic crisis as regular blackouts and severe shortages of fuel and goods continue. 

Huge protests have called for the resignation of the government, which is preparing to negotiate an urgently needed bailout with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to local media reports, police fired live rounds at a crowd that had blockaded a railway line and highway connecting the capital Colombo with the central city of Kandy.

“One man died of gunshot injuries,” a hospital official said, adding that 16 protesters were wounded, with eight in need of emergency surgery, while eight police officers were also injured and undergoing treatment at the hospital. 

Police said officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd about to burn a tanker carrying diesel.

“Instead of dispersing, the mob began pelting stones. At that point officers fired at them,” police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said.

The government imposed an indefinite curfew in the area, officials said.

Protesters staged various gatherings around Sri Lanka on Tuesday after the country’s main petrol retailer increased prices by nearly 65 percent.

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