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The Sri Lankan government has failed to contain the repercussions of the famine crisis, which erupted in the wake of a series of global crises, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, and led to the widening of the poverty gap in the country.The last two, tourism and tea cultivation. Angry crowds stormed the presidential palace yesterday, forcing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee his official residence. Amid the absence of any government program to seriously address the living crisis.
The UAE embassy in Colombo has called on citizens in Sri Lanka to take precautionary measures and stay away from the demonstration areas, and to contact the embassy in case of emergency at the number 0097180024, and in the “My presence” service to register. The embassy has advised citizens wishing to travel to Sri Lanka to postpone their trip.
The current unrest in Sri Lanka is rooted in a series of global crises and government decisions as well as internal violence.
The 2019 Easter attacks and the subsequent outbreak of the coronavirus had catastrophic consequences on the country’s economy, depriving Sri Lanka of its tourism leverage and overpayments to the diaspora, which is the main source of foreign exchange. According to economists, wrong political decisions have exacerbated the country’s problems. After Sri Lanka defaulted on its $ 51 billion in foreign debt in April, the country requested assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which demanded that Colombo end corruption and raise taxes dramatically. In recent months, popular protests have increased, sometimes by force, against the backdrop of rationing for electricity, food shortages and accelerating inflation.
Against the backdrop of this crisis, field events and politics in Sri Lanka accelerated yesterday when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence in the capital, Colombo, shortly before angry protesters from an unprecedented economic crisis stormed the presidential complex and neighboring offices. has. of the president, to present the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted his resignation and said he is ready to resign, to make way for an all-party government.
Thousands of people have been deployed in the vicinity of the president’s residence to demand his resignation, accusing the government of mismanaging a suffocating crisis that has been going on for months in a country of 22 million people. As crowds rushed to the gates of the presidential palace, the soldiers guarding the complex fired into the air to stop their march, until Rajapaksa was taken to safety. A source in the Ministry of Defense said: “The president has been transferred to a safe place,” adding: “He is still the president, and a military unit offers him protection.”
Live scenes broadcast on social media showed hundreds of people walking around the palace, some of whom jumped into the pool.
Others were seen laughing and sitting in the luxurious bedrooms of the presidential residence. The colonial-era palace is one of Sri Lanka’s most important symbols of power, and officials have said Rajapaksa’s departure has raised doubts about his desire to remain in office.
Waiting for instructions
“We are waiting for instructions,” said a senior government official. “We still do not know where the president is, but we know he is with the Sri Lankan navy, and he is safe,” he added.
Private stations broadcast what appeared to be the president’s motorcade at Sri Lanka’s international airport, but there was no confirmation that he had left the island. Shortly after crowds of people stormed the presidential palace, protesters took control of the offices near the president. And the security forces tried to disperse the large crowds that had descended on the area, which included administrative offices.
Three people were taken to hospital after being shot, and 36 people were treated for shortness of breath caused by tear gas, according to a spokesman for the main hospital in Colombo.
The Sri Lankan prime minister, who will succeed Rajapaksa when he resigns, convened an urgent cabinet meeting to discuss a “quick fix” for a potential power vacuum. Wickremesinghe’s office said he was ready to resign to make way for an all-party government, after thousands of protesters stormed the president’s residence in Colombo.
Meanwhile, leaders of various opposition parties have called on President Rajapaksa to resign. “The president and prime minister must resign immediately,” said Maithripala Sirisena, leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, before Wickremesinghe resigned. If that does not happen, the political unrest will get worse. ” And later last night,
Mahinda Abiwardana, speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, has announced that President Rajapaksa has agreed to retire next week.
“The president has said he will resign on July 13 to ensure a peaceful transfer of power,” a television statement told Abiwardana.
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