Police, protesters clash in Sri Lanka

February 17th, 2012 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 17 (IANS) Police in Sri Lanka tear-gassed an anti-government protest and used water cannons to disperse crowds here Friday as dissent continued over the highest-ever fuel price increase, an official said.

The protest, which was organised by Sri Lanka’s main opposition, the United National Party, brought together thousands of disgruntled people over the government’s latest fuel hike that has seen bus fares and other costs increase overnight, Xinhua reported.

“We want to ask why the government is taking such anti-poor steps when it can minimize wastage and corruption,” UNP MP and economist Harsha de Silva told Xinhua, pointing out that the rapidly depreciating rupee and declining stock exchange had added to the economic gloom.

Protesters were prevented by the police from marching to the president’s office but the demonstration caused massive traffic snarls and inconvenienced many commuters.

On Thursday the police tear gassed a peaceful protest against the rising cost of living held by Sri Lanka’s main leftist party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

On Wednesday police shot at a large group of protesting fishermen killing one and injuring four others. Protests are continuing to seek justice for the slain fisherman even though the government offered a subsidy to appease them.

The government has so far offered subsidies to low income families to reduce the fallout of price hike

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