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Fuel Prices and Protesting Voices in Sri Lanka: Mahendran Thiruvarangan


The United People’s Freedom Alliance government’s inability to put forward economic policies that address the grievances of the downtrodden sections of the Sri Lankan polity, outside the frameworks of neo-liberalism, has led to chaos in the country. The government’s move to privatize the higher education sector created a major uproar in the country last year. The academic staff attached to Sri Lanka’s universities began a trade union action demanding higher wages in 2011. In the Katunayake Free Trade Zone, garment sector workers took to the streets against a pension scheme introduced by the government much against the interest of the workers. These protests have brought to light the government’s ill-conceived economic policies, and its indifference to the concerns of the working people. Financial mismanagement, corruption at the various levels of the state, the escalating expenditure on the militarization of the North and East provinces, and the government’s sheer disregard for the fundamental needs of the people have created an atmosphere of economic instability. This situation might lead to political unrest in the future, if the Sri Lankan government continues to lack the will to salvage the economy from neo-liberalism and mismanagement. The government’s move to increase the prices of fuels has aggravated this situation.

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