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Sri Lanka: Catholic Church backs Galle Face protests

Protestors at Galle Face sea front pitch tents (Photo: @NewsWireLK/Twitter)

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has extended its support to the ongoing Galle Face protest in Sri Lanka demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, local media reported.

The support was announced in a press conference by Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, Director, National Catholic Center for Social Communications and spokesperson for the Church, The Island reported. Fernando said that the Catholic Church is also of the view that President Rajapaksa should resign while adding that many members of the Catholic Church were already on the sidelines of the protest.

When asked whether the Church had made preparations for religious activities in the protest, Fernando responded in the negative, putting rest to speculations that rose due to social media posts that said there are plans to conduct religious programs on Easter Sunday at the Galle Face protest site.

On Saturday, the advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on International Religious Affairs Walpole Piyananda said that the Catholic Church has a "misunderstanding" with the government.

A massive protest against the Sri Lankan government, and particularly the Rajapaksa family has been going on in the Galle Face Green area of Colombo.
Protesters have been accusing Rajapaksa's government of corruption and misrule while demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa with the slogan of "Go Gota Go", the rallying cry of the protest that refers to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka is grappling with an economic crisis that has led to massive protests against the ruling Rajapaksa government.

Sri Lanka's economy has been under pressure since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A crash in the tourism sector was followed by a crash in the agriculture sector after the government's move to ban all chemical fertilizers in a bid to make the Island country's agriculture fully organic.

Sri Lanka is facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel, as well as resulted in the country defaulting on its foreign debt.