February 2023 | Protesters invade government building and loot businesses in Paramaribo
Mass anti-government protests erupted in Paramaribo on 17 February to demand the resignation of President Chandrikapersad Santokhi. The protests erupted after he issued a statement earlier this month revealing the government’s plans to introduce a new tax on imported goods and phase out state subsidies for gas, electricity, and fuel. The protest march of around 2,000 people began peacefully but turned violent after protestors stormed the National Assembly building, and subsequently took to rioting in the streets and looting of shops. Protestors attacked the police and the incident resulted in more than 20 people injured and over 100 arrests. The government condemned the violence and took several measures that include a task force to find those responsible for attacking the parliament, set up of roadblocks, extra surveillance and checkpoints as well as a curfew in downtown Paramaribo.
Violence was condemned by leaders of Brazil and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), described as an “unacceptable assault on democracy” and several governments in the region have offered support to President Santokhi’s administration. The United Nations also issued a statement urging “all relevant actors in Suriname to show restraint and engage in inclusive dialogue to address constructively the challenges facing the country”.