Protests in Sri Lanka unprecedented, unlikely to fade away

Sri Lanka is facing an economic and political crisis, with protesters taking to the streets of the island nation to demand government action and accountability.

Daniel Bass is manager of the South Asia Program and adjunct assistant professor of Asian studies at Cornell University. His research focuses on Sri Lanka. He says pressure on the current government has not lessened.

Bass says: “The grassroots protests in Colombo, and throughout Sri Lanka, in recent weeks are unprecedented, in response to a dire economic situation. Sri Lanka has not only faced fuel and food shortages and massive power cuts, but also a shortage of medicines and even paper, leading to the cancellation of nationwide school exams.

“The current government appears to be trying to wait these protests out, hoping that the crowds will disperse in time, especially once the monsoon rains begin in earnest, and that the opposition in parliament will fracture. However, after a country-wide general strike today, pressure on the government has not abated.

“While Tamil communities on the island have been suffering under the government’s economic and political malpractice for years, majority Sinhalas – many of whom voted for the governing party in 2019 – are only now realizing the extent of the economic mess that the current government has gotten the country into.”

For interviews contact Becka Bowyer, cell: (607) 220-4185,

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View of a city at dawn
Christoph Theisinger/Unsplash Colombo, Sri Lanka