Travel concerns grow over protests, economic crisis

Cricket Australia says it remains committed to visiting Sri Lanka next month despite deadly clashes amid a crippling economic crisis.

Weeks of extremely peaceful protests over Sri Lanka’s crippling economic crisis boiled over on Monday, with at least nine people killed and furious mobs torching the homes of government lawmakers.

Security forces have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone involved in arson or committing further violence after struggling to contain the unrest over the past two days.

A nationwide curfew has been put in place and there is an overwhelming military presence with vehicles patrolling the streets and checkpoints set up.

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Australia is just three weeks away from its scheduled arrival in the capital Colombo. He is scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in three T20s, five ODIs and two Tests.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka this week, telling citizens it should “reconsider” their need to visit the island nation.

CA issued a statement on Thursday, saying its plans for a six-week tour through Kandy, Galle, Hambantota and Colombo are unchanged.

“We are closely monitoring developments in Sri Lanka and are in regular conversation with DFAT and Sri Lanka Cricket,” a spokesperson said, per cricket.com.au.

“Our players and support staff have been informed and will continue to be kept informed. There are three weeks left before the team’s scheduled departure and at this stage there are no changes to the schedule.”

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In March, Australia toured Pakistan, where DFAT also has a ‘reconsider’ travel advice.

Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was due to appoint a new prime minister on Thursday to try to pull Sri Lanka out of its severe economic crisis after days of violence, officials said.

Respected former five-time prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was the favorite to lead a “unity government” with cross-party support, and replace Rajapaksa’s older brother Mahinda, who resigned on Monday.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday night, Rajapaksa did not give in to weeks of nationwide protests calling on him to step down.

The country of 22 million people is going through its worst economic crisis since independence with severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine and long power cuts.

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