Sri Lankan crisis: Police fires tear gas at protesters demanding President Rajapaksa's resignation

Protesters are blaming Rajapaksa for the infinite economic crisis and have occupied the entrance to his office for three months.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, July 09, 2022, 03:01 PM IST
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ANI

Sri Lankan police fired tear gas on Saturday at protesters demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government resign over the island nation's worst economic crisis.

In the videos surfaced on the internet, thousands of protesters can be seen carrying Sri Lankan flags rode on the relatively few vehicles on the roads due to an acute fuel shortage, while others rode bicycles and many walked to protest sites in the capital, Colombo, from the suburbs after police lifted an overnight curfew.

In another video, SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne was seen attacked by demonstrators as agitation erupted on the streets. Protesters are blaming Rajapaksa for the infinite economic crisis and have occupied the entrance to his office for three months.

PM Wickremesinghe calls for emergency party meeting after President Rajapaksa flees his residence

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his residence as the protesters surrounded his residence in Colombo. The island country's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, shortly after his fleeing, has summoned an emergency party leaders' meeting in order to discuss the situation and come to a swift resolution.

According to ANI, he is also requesting the Speaker to summon Parliament.

Sri Lankan crisis

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said last month that the country's economy has collapsed. The government's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund have been complex because it has now entered negotiations as a bankrupt state.

In April, Sri Lanka announced it is suspending repaying foreign loans due to a foreign currency shortage. Its total foreign debt amounts to $51 billion of which it must repay $28 billion by the end of 2027.

Police imposed a curfew in Colombo and several other main urban areas on Friday night but withdrew it Saturday morning amid objections by lawyers and opposition politicians who called it illegal.

Riot police and army personnel are deployed in the city, and the area surrounding the president's official residence is heavily barricaded.

The economic crisis has led to a heavy shortage of essentials like fuel, cooking gas and medicines, forcing people to stand in long lines to buy the limited supplies.

Months of protests have nearly dismantled the Rajapaksa political dynasty that has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades. One of Rajapaksa’s brothers resigned as prime minister last month, and two other brothers and a nephew quit their Cabinet posts earlier.

President Rajapaksa has held on to power.

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