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Stripped of Good Governance: ‘Underwear Protest’ underway in Sri Lanka

This is the country's largest hartal campaign and strike, organised island-wide 69 years after the major hartal that began in 1953.

Thousands of shops, schools, and businesses closed on Friday as public and private sector workers in Sri Lanka went on strike, demanding the president and the government step down for their mishandling of the island’s worst financial crisis in decades.

This is the country’s largest hartal campaign and strike, organised island-wide 69 years after the major hartal that began in 1953.

Hundreds of protesters remained camped outside the main road to parliament where they started a sit-in on Thursday where they hung their underwear on the barricades as an insult to the political leadership.

Messages like “Gotta go home” – a rallying cry from the protests – were scrawled on some of the underpants and vests.

The underwears have been displayed with various anti-government slogans written on it, calling on the President to step down.

The underwear protest has been launched as part of the ongoing anti-government agitations over the national crisis.

Earlier on Friday, the police again fired tear gas and water cannon at students trying to storm Sri Lanka’s parliament as the country was brought to a halt by a trade union strike demanding the government step down.

Officers fired a barrage of tear gas followed by water cannon from two trucks, but the crowd quickly reassembled behind police barricades set up to block access to the parliament.

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has once again declared a state of emergency giving security forces sweeping powers for the second time in five weeks to deal with escalating anti-government protests in the Country.

Last month Sri Lanka announced it was defaulting on its $51 billion foreign debt, and finance minister Ali Sabry warned this week that the country will have to endure its unprecedented economic hardships for at least two more years.

First Published: 7th May, 2022 18:24 IST

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