Sri Lankan government suspends fuel for health workers ahead of protest to oust president, PM
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government has suspended fuel for health workers for two days, the health ministry secretary said on Thursday, ahead of a protest on July 9 to force the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Healthcare workers are being given an exclusive fuel arrangement after a series of protests where they can pump fuel from designated outlets of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation on Friday. The program started on June 24.
“Given the current situation and current circumstances, it is advisable to postpone the above schedule for 48 hours, after which further review, a new date will be notified in due course,” said Sr. Janaka Sri Chandraguptha, the Health Secretary in a statement. .
The move comes after police’s request for a court order to prevent protests near the president’s official residence in Colombo was rejected by a court.
Anti-government protesters, activists, monks, artists and professionals called on all people across the country to join the protest in Cololmbo near the president’s residence. Thousands of social media users shared memes, asking the fellow citizen to join the protest.
People are furious at what they say is the lethargic attitude of the president and prime minister securing at least the essentials like fuel, cooking gas and kerosene. The length of queues for these imports stretched for miles across the country despite the government saying there was no fuel until July 10.
Wickremesinghe was appointed prime minister on April 12 after the resignation of President Rajapaksa’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, following violent clashes that left more than 10 people dead and more than 300 injured on May 9. The clashes began after supporters of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa brutally attacked unarmed anti-government protesters while police and military remained silent at key protest sites in Colombo. (Colombo/July 07, 2022)