Thousands of protesters raided the president’s residence in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Thousands of protesters raided the president’s residence in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, occupying his administration office as calls for resignation increased. A large-scale anti-government protest was organized on Saturday demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the country suffered the worst economic crisis since independence. Police used tear gas and water cannons on crowds in some places and fired in the air.
However, as the crowd stopped and moved towards the presidential palace, the barricade was demolished, hoisting the Sri Lankan flag and shouting the slogan, rushing to the palace grounds. Images from the scene showed protesters flooding the grand staircase of a colonial building and calling on the president to leave. There was a cheerful scene as some lay down on the bed and dozens jumped into the outdoor pool and lay down on the lawn in the garden.
According to the Pentagon, Rajapaksa was taken home on Friday and received military protection for fear that planned protests could escalate. His whereabouts were unknown on Saturday in rumours that he had fled the country. The President’s Galle Face office in Colombo was also occupied by thousands of protesters who broke security and barricades and attacked the building.
For months, Galle Face was a scene of an anti-government protest camp where people lived in tents and refused to move until Rajapaksa resigned. At least 20 people, including police officers, were injured and hospitalized during Saturday’s protests. Sri Lanka is suffering from a catastrophic crisis in which the economy has collapsed completely and the government cannot afford to import food, fuel and medicines.
All gasoline sales have been suspended, schools have been closed, and medical procedures and surgery have been postponed or cancelled due to a shortage of medicines and equipment. Several UN agencies have recently raised concerns about the humanitarian situation in the country. Inflation was a record 54.6% and food prices quintupled.
This means that two-thirds of the country is struggling to be self-sufficient. Much guilt and anger are directed at Sri Lanka’s most powerful political dynasties, the President and the Rajapaksa family. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign as Prime Minister in May, and the other three families also served as senior ministers.
However, he has so far refused, despite massive protests and ongoing public calls for the resignation of the president. Acting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed president in May, but things continue to worsen and he is faced with a call to resign in allegations that he helped President Rajapaksa.
After the attack on the presidential residence on Saturday, Wickremesinghe convened an emergency meeting of all party leaders and called for the summoning of parliament. Hundreds of Sri Lankan protesters demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in central Colombo on Saturday after people went out to protest the government for the worst reasons in the country and broke through the barricade. An economic crisis in recent memory rushed to his official residence in the secure Fort Area.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has been called to resign since March, has been using the presidential residence as his residence and office since the opposition occupied the entrance to the office in early April. Insiders say the president was moved out of the house on Friday as preparations for Saturday’s protests were gathered.
Police used tear gas and water cannons and fired to disperse them, but a large gathering of protesters broke through the barricade. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called for an emergency meeting of party leaders to discuss the country’s crisis caused by public protests and called for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign.
According to a statement from Wickremesinghe’s office, he called on the leader to convene an emergency meeting and called on the chair to convene an emergency meeting in parliament. Protesters who have expanded the walls of the official residence are now occupying the official residence without any property damage or violence.
At least 30 people, including two police officers, were injured during an ongoing protest and were admitted to a national hospital in Colombo. Protesters also clashed with railroad authorities in the local cities of Goal, Kandy and Matara, as protesters forced authorities to operate trains to Colombo. Large forces of police, special forces, and troops were stationed in the area. Organizers of the national movement to Colombo said people from the suburbs were walking to protesters at Fort Colombo. Protesters said they would not retreat until Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned as president.
Sri Lankan police have imposed a curfew on seven departments of the Western Province, including Colombo, before planned anti-government protests after continued pressure from major lawyers’ associations, human rights groups and political parties. The decree was lifted.
The curfew was imposed on seven police stations in the Western Province, including Negombo, Kelaniya, Nugegoda, Mount Lavinia, Colombo North, Colombo South, and Colombo Central, and was valid from 9 pm on Friday until further notice.
The Sri Lankan Bar Association has protested the curfew, calling it an “illegal and fundamental infringement.” “The curfew is illegal and is a violation of the fundamental rights of our people protesting that President Gotabaya Rajapakse and his government did not protect their fundamental rights.” Said.
The Panel warned that the curfew aims to curb freedom of speech and expression, which would seriously harm Sri Lanka’s economy and its social, political and international status. The Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka has called police to limit serious violations of human rights.
On Friday, police in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, restricted the island nation’s escalation of public anger at the worst economic crisis of 70 years after firing tear gas and water cannons at student protesters before a weekend rally. Was imposed.
A country with a population of 22 million, Sri Lanka is crippled by a serious foreign exchange shortage that forces it to pay for important imports of fuel and other necessities, causing the worst unprecedented economic turmoil in 70 years. I am experiencing it.
According to a viral video on social media, a VIP convoy arrived at Colombo International Airport, where Sri Lankan Airlines planes were stopped. In the turmoil, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an emergency meeting of all parties on Saturday and urged speakers to convene a parliament, his office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Friday’s US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, called on the country’s troops and police to allow peaceful protests. In a tweet, she continued, “Violence cannot solve this problem … chaos and violence do not make the economy stronger or bring the political stability the Sri Lankans need right now.”. Analysts warned that political and economic instability could upset the long-awaited $ 3 billion bailout package for Sri Lanka by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Last week, Wickremesinghe announced in parliament that Sri Lanka would submit a debt restructuring program to the IMF by August to secure remedies, and negotiations with global lenders have been longer than before as the country is “bankrupt”. Also emphasized that it is complicated. The country is suffering from a serious foreign currency crisis that has caused it to default on its external debt and announced in April that it would stop paying about $ 25 billion in external debt by about $ 7 billion by 2026.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma