COLOMBO: University students and policemen hold on to a barricade as students try to push their way through, during a demonstration against the economic crisis near the parliament building in the Sri Lankan capital on Wednesday. —AFP
COLOMBO: University students and policemen hold on to a barricade as students try to push their way through, during a demonstration against the economic crisis near the parliament building in the Sri Lankan capital on Wednesday. —AFP

COLOMBO: Police fired tear gas on students attemp­ting to storm Sri Lanka’s parliament on Thursday as the protesters demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country’s worst-ever economic crisis.

Protesters led by the Inter University Students’ Federa­tion were about to pull down the yellow-painted iron barricades on the main drive leading to the legislature when riot police unleashed a barrage of tear gas.

The students had marched from a nearby university and closed in on the parliament building located on a man-made lake island when police moved in.

Even as the crowds dispersed, police kept firing tear gas canisters that hit shops in the nearby Diyatha Uyana park, witnesses said.

Police had earlier set up barricades around the sprawling parliament complex where a vacancy for the deputy speaker was being filled unopposed.

Sri Lanka’s trade unions have announced a one-day work stoppage on Friday.

The organisers of the strike have asked temples and churches to ring their bells for an hour on Friday morning in a show of solidarity.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2022

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