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After rioting, Suriname leader appeals for return to normalcy

#rioting #Suriname #leader #appeals #return #normalcy

President Chan Santokhi on Sunday called on the people of Suriname to return to work after a spasm of rioting over the cost of living in the tiny South American country. 

As many as 2,000 people took part in Friday’s protests, clashing with security forces and attempting to storm the congress building.

Demonstrators in the capital Paramaribo hurled rocks and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Shops were looted and a car was set on fire.

Protesters chanted slogans against rising prices for food, petrol and electricity and accused the government of corruption. 

In a widely followed address to the nation in the former Dutch colony, Santokhi said Sunday, “We believe the economy should be normalized as quickly as possible.”

“We acknowledge that the sense of security as a result of the eruptions surrounding the protest has been seriously affected,” the president added. 

“It has therefore been decided to boost security. Increased patrols have been carried out on several roads in recent days. That will continue.”

The government said schools will not reopen Monday but teachers should still report for work.

It said 19 people were injured in the unrest and 143 were detained. Seventy-four of them remain in custody and the rest were freed. 

With a weak currency and ever-worsening economic crisis, the nation’s 600,000 people are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet. 

The government has plans to eliminate subsidies for electricity, gas and other essentials in line with IMF-required spending cuts. 

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