Sri Lanka gasoline prices up 90%; protests spread

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a profound economic crisis, sparking massive protests around the country. The protests are happening against a backdrop of painful and unresolved aspects of the island’s history, following a civil war that drove and deepened ethnic and religious divisions.

The poorest are the worst affected, but everyone is struggling. There have been huge increases in the costs of food. A kilogram of rice now costs more than 205 rupees (38% up on January and nearly double the price of a year ago), while a liter of gasoline now costs Rs338 (a 90% rise from January). There are severe shortages in these and other basics such as milk powder, cooking gas and medicine.

People have died queuing for hours for essential goods in the tropical heat. Meanwhile, energy shortages have led to power cuts of up to 13 hours a day since February.

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