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Govt compels to spend hundreds of dollars to import tear gas

Sri Lanka has to spend large sums of foreign exchange to import tear gas canisters if protest demonstrations continue in the country for a further period , said an economic analyst, adding that the price of a tear gas canister will be in the region of US$ 26.

The spending of hundreds of dollars to import gas canisters at the time of a severe dollar shortage in the country where its usable foreign rerved had slipped to $ 50 million to attack protesters was unbearable for the country.

Sri Lanka’s 22-million population has been facing acute shortages of food, fuel and medicines for months, bringing tens of thousands onto the streets to demand the resignation of Rajapaksa and other members of his powerful ruling family.

Sri Lankan politician Rehan Jayawickreme has claimed that chemical gas canisters used on Tamils during the armed conflict are now being used on anti-government protesters in Colombo.

In a series of tweets, Jayawickreme wrote that a “reliable source” had informed him that “the government is using chemical gas canisters” on protesters who have been demonstrating against the Rajapaksa regime for several weeks for their role in causing the economic crisis the island is currently facing.

Jayawickreme continued that “the particular canister that the regime is using not only causes damage to the eyes but also causes convulsion and palpitations.”

Police had fired CS gas on protesters, including university students, at Parliament Road last week for the second time to disperse protesters.

Last month Sri lanka police used minimum force of baton charging , throwing tear gas canisters and then shooting at civilians killing a protester recently.

Images surfacing on social media showed that N 500 – CS Gas Hand Grenade type tear gas had been thrown into the crowd at protesters who participated in protest near the parliamentary complex.

Children and journalists were among those affected by the tear gas fired or thrown during the protests at Parliament Road.

Manufacturers of CS tear gas say when the grenade is thrown after being removed of its safety pin it emits CS gas while twisting. Emission time is about 30 seconds. It consists of lever-type fuse, plastic shell and CS combustion, and it emits much great volume of CS gas than older versions.

CS gas (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile) is one of the most commonly used tear gases in the world.

Law enforcement agencies have found this agent invaluable when faced with combative suspects, for riot control, and for alleviating hostage and siege situations.

They use it to help control individuals or groups without the need for lethal force. The chemical was used for crowd control as early as the 1950s, but not until the mid-1960s did it come into common use in several countries.

In Britain there had been persistent concerns about the use of CS gas in the media, numerous complaints to the Police Complaints Authority, and an editorial in the Lancet that called for a moratorium on the use of CS tear gas.

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