Protesters demanding the resignation of the president of Sri Lanka They refuse to leave the presidential palace this Sunday, after they broke into the residence the day before, forcing the president to flee and announce his resignation this week. Saturday’s dramatic events were the culmination of a wave of protests on this island, located off the southern coast of India and plunged into an unprecedented economic and political crisis, which the protesters attribute to the management of the president. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the capital, Colombo to demand that Rajapaksa Take responsibility for the shortages of medicine, food, and fuel that have thrown a relatively prosperous country into chaos.
After storming the presidential palace, which dates back to the colonial era, the crowd swept through the ostentatious rooms, some jumping into the pool and going through the wardrobe and belongings of Rajapaksa. The troops fired into the air to allow the president to escape and then Rajapaksa boarded a navy ship that took him off the island. From there, the 73-year-old president has clung to power, despite the wave of violence that left several dead in May and forced his brother to resign. Mahinda Rajapaksawho served as prime minister. In the evening, the Speaker of Parliament announced on television that, “to ensure a peaceful transition, the president said he would tender his resignation on July 13.”
The office of Rajapaksa located on the coastline as well was taken over by protesters and another group set fire to the prime minister’s residence Ranil Wickremesinghe, despite the fact that he also announced his resignation.
Images posted on social media show a mob applauding the fire, which broke out shortly after security forces attacked several journalists. Earlier, security forces attempted to disperse the huge crowds gathered in the administrative district, leading to unrest. The main hospital in Colombo He reported that received 105 wounded on Saturday and that on Sunday 55 were still hospitalized. Among the admitted patients there are seven wounded journalists.
“There is one person who is still in very serious condition after being hit by a bullet,” spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told GLM. Shortly after midnight, General Shavendra Silva called for calm. “There is an opportunity to resolve the crisis situation in a peaceful and constitutional way”Silva said in a brief speech on television.
A defense source reported that Rajapaksa will arrive at the Trincomalee naval base in the northeast of the island during the day on Sunday. The United States urged the leaders of Sri Lanka to act “quickly” to find long-term solutions. Washington called for it to be “the Sri Lankan parliament that addresses this situation, with a commitment to what is best for the country and not for a particular political party,” said a spokesman, coinciding with the visit to Thailand of the head of the American diplomacy, Antony Blinken.
On Sunday, protesters still occupying the presidential palace said they will not leave until Rajapaksa get out of power effectively.
“Our fight is not over”student leader Lahiru Weerasekara told reporters. The activist said that when they crossed the last barrier they knew that the soldiers were going to shoot. “We risk our lives”, he claimed. “We are not going to give up our fight until he is truly gone.” Sri Lanka has been enduring shortages of basic foodstuffs, power outages and runaway inflation for months after the country depleted its foreign exchange reserves needed for imports.
The government declared a moratorium on its debt for 51,000 million dollars and is seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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