A few hundred protesters gathered in the capital of Suriname to demand the resignation of the president of the South American country
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — A few hundred protesters gathered in the capital of Suriname on Friday to demand the resignation of the president of the South American country.
President Chan Santokhi’s administration has been accused of trying to delay the 2025 general election, which cannot be held until lawmakers amend the electoral law in accordance with a court ruling last year aimed at creating a fairer voting system.
Earlier this week, the government set up a committee to submit two proposals to amend the electoral law, with Santokhi saying the bill would be brought before lawmakers within two months. But activists are demanding that the law be approved within a week, even though the president of Suriname’s National Assembly warned on Thursday that that would not be enough time.
Activist Maisha Neus said she would organize more protests if there was a delay.
“We’re going to hit them where it hurts. Economically,” he said.
It is the second such protest since mid-February, when protesters stormed Parliament to denounce the end of state subsidies that have led to spikes in electricity, fuel and water prices. The crowd clashed with police that day, who arrested at least 126 people after they were initially taken aback by the crowd’s fury and size.
This time, the police outnumbered the protesters, and officials erected barricades around the presidential office and parliament.
“Is this a democracy that keeps its people behind a fence?” shouted one of the protesters.
The protests come as the Santokhi cabinet implements cost-cutting measures ordered by the International Monetary Fund while phasing out electricity, water and fuel subsidies. Current inflation is 58% and the rising cost of living has many outraged.
There is no prospect of sudden relief as Suriname has not received any money from the IMF for about a year because the government has not met its targets. The IMF lent Suriname $690 million in December 2021, but only $100 million has been released so far.