Sri Lankans end protests that toppled President Rajapaksa
Colombo, Aug 10 (EFE).- Sri Lankans removed the protest camp in Colombo on Wednesday after more than four months of anti-government rallies on the famed waterfront promenade.
The campsite at Galle Face in the capital had turned into the nerve center of the months-long protests that forced the exit of then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country’s worst economic crisis.
The protesters occupied the site near the ocean-side urban park and the president’s office on April 9.
They established a hamlet and named it the “GotaGoGama” village, asking Gotabaya to quit.
The protests fizzled out over the weeks after Rajapaksa fled the country and resigned last month.
But smaller crowds still turned up at the site until Wednesday, when 10 last resident protesters decided to quit after camping for 124 days.
The uprising has served its purpose and brought down the government of the Rajapaksa clan as the country reeled from economic chaos that snowballed into political turmoil during the months of street unrest.
However, for many, GotaGoGama was more than a protest site.
For some, it was a home, a center where they designed and executed the plan to oust Rajapaksa.
Sarath Jaya from Kandy in the Central Province looked gloomy to see the once boisterous site so silent and empty on Wednesday.
Jaya worked in the community kitchen and cooked meals for resident protesters.
“We wanted to stay,” Jaya told EFE.
On Tuesday, demonstrators organized an event to mark the fourth month of GotaGoGama, urging the government to end the crackdown on protesters.
“But the turnout was very low. Not even 500 people were here. So, I decided to go today,” Jaya said.
Jaya and hundreds of others parked themselves at the protest site as the country reeled under the worst economic crisis in over seven decades.
People flooded the site in the last four months and offered donations, food, tents, and books.
The makeshift library was also removed and the water and electricity supply to the site was discontinued.
However, for activist Udara Prasad it is not the end.
He claimed they will come back to oust new President Ranil Wickremesinghe too.
“Aragalaya (the struggle) is with us. We will come back soon,” Prasad told EFE.