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US embassy issues alert amid call for protest in Sri Lanka

ANI | Updated: Jun 29, 2022 17:06 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], June 29 (ANI): The US embassy in Sri Lanka has announced an alert in the wake of a countrywide 'vehicle protest' that will be carried out for five hours on Wednesday.
"Calls for a country-wide "vehicle protest" on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM have been widely circulated on social media. The protest effort calls for all vehicles to stop in place along roads, blocking traffic, for the five-hour period. Although organizers request emergency vehicles be allowed to pass, the collective action will likely cause road congestion," the US embassy said in an alert.
People were requested by the US Embassy to "avoid the areas of rallies or demonstrations, exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests, monitor local media for updates, and keep a low profile."
A voice recording regarding the protest was shared on social networking platforms, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.
The video message demanded the removal of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe along with the appointment of a suitable leader who can handle the current situation in the country.
The recording also called for vehicles that make the police unable to manoeuvre the traffic by occupying the entire space available on the roads to be stopped.

Earlier in the month of May, the US Embassy issued a "demonstration alert" ahead of the city-wide protests to be held in Colombo.
Several demonstrations and marches were planned in and around Colombo to protest the economic situation in the country.
"The demonstrations are likely to make travel to/from/within Colombo more difficult and cause road closures and traffic congestion throughout the day," the US Embassy said.
Notably, Sri Lanka has been facing the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, leading to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the island nation.
The nearly-bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 - 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages.
Sri Lanka is one of the few nations named by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is expected to go without food due to the global food shortage expected this year. (ANI)