Sri Lanka shuts down in general strike amid calls for government to resign
Millions of public and private sector workers took part in a nationwide strike to protest the Sri Lankan government’s handling of the financial crisis. Offices, factories and public transport were left empty as the strike was called for by trade unions and civil organizations. There are widespread calls for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign.
Almost all private and public transport services were canceled on Friday and more than 3,000 factory workers from Sri Lanka’s main export processing zone joined the strike. The president has refused to step down even as protestors have been outside his office for almost a month and the large scale demonstrations that have been growing. The island nation is in its worst economic crisis since the country achieved independence in 1948. A combination of government mismanagement and the Covid-19 pandemic caused this crisis. Fuel, food and pharmaceutical shortages have caused hardships and repeated blackouts on the island. The opposition in Sri Lanka’s parliament has been unable to remove Rajapaksa from office. The Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry announced this week that the economic issues are likely to last for two more years.