For the second straight day, protesters in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, have occupied the prime minister’s and president’s offices. They have vowed to remain there until both have formally resigned.
In the midst of an unparalleled economic crisis, thousands of protesters invaded the president’s home on Saturday and later set fire to the prime minister’s home, driving the two leaders into hiding. They were determined to see the nation’s senior officials resign.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, will stand down from office on Wednesday, according to Speaker of the Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, respectively.
But until the two leaders formally resign from their positions, protesters are standing their ground. At the major protest location in Colombo, playwright Ruwanthie de Chickera stated: “The president needs to resign, the prime minister has to quit, and the administration has to leave.”
She claimed that until then, the protesters would remain outside the president and prime minister’s official mansions. She was flanked by other figures who were assisting in organizing the anti-government campaign.
Images of individuals exercising in President Rajapaksa’s private gym and swimming in his pool have gone viral around the world, putting an abrupt end to the family’s two-decade political sway in Sri Lanka.
Student leader Lahiru Weerasekara told reporters on Sunday “Our struggle is not over; we won’t give up this struggle until he actually leaves.”
On Sunday, opposition parties gathered in the capital to discuss forming a new administration. Rajapaksa allegedly instructed authorities to begin the quick distribution of a shipment of cooking gas on the same day, indicating that he was still at work, according to a statement from the president’s office. As a result of the nation’s economic collapse and the severe shortages of requirements that have resulted, pressure on the president and prime minister has increased. People are now having a difficult time getting food, petrol, and other essentials.
Wickremesinghe was chosen prime minister by Rajapaksa in May in an effort to address the shortages and kick-start economic growth.
In order to prepare for a potential food crisis, Wickremesinghe has participated in critical discussions with the World Food Programme and the IMF for a bailout scheme.
What to Expect
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis started earlier this year when the government postponed loan repayments to foreign lenders because of a lack of foreign currency. In addition to negotiating a bailout with the IMF, the country is reliant on aid from India and other countries.
Many people think that the political instability may cause the highly anticipated IMF rescue to be delayed. IMF representatives told reporters that they were looking for an improvement in the situation in Sri Lanka.
“We are keeping a careful eye on the current events in Sri Lanka. We hope that the current situation may be resolved so that our dialogue can resume,” the IMF added