Conflicts & War

Thousands rally in Sri Lanka to demand president’s resignation

Colombo, Apr 9 (EFE).- Thousands of people on Saturday marched to the entrance of Colombo’s Presidential Secretariat to demand the resignation of Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid a deep liquidity crisis and shortages of basic goods.

The largely young crowd of protesters marched through central Colombo carrying banners and national flags, chanting slogans calling for the resignations of Gotabaya and his older brother, prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“All members of the Rajapaksa family should go home. They have done more harm than good to the people,” Ananda Gajanayake, a computer worker who participated in the rally, told Efe.

“Throughout my life, it has been mostly Rajapaksas who have manipulated our lives for their own benefit. Even if they leave, they must explain how they got their wealth,” he added.

The protest comes after president Rajapaksa refused to resign despite mounting pressure from the opposition, who accuse him of failing to handle the economic crisis.

“I can’t find medicine for my parents because this government doesn’t have dollars to import medicine,” Anura Ruwan, a 28-year-old banker, told Efe.

The rallies, of which there have been several over the past few weeks, are rare displays of discontent against the Rajapaksa family who were once seen as national heroes by many Sri Lankans.

The president’s older brother and incumbent premier was the head of state from 2004 to 2015 when the country’s forces defeated the Tigers of Tamil separatist guerrillas after a 26-year war.

A serious economic crisis in the indebted country, however, has undermined the popularity of the Rajapaksa clan.

The severe US dollar shortage has prompted drastic cuts in imports of gas, fuel, food, and medicine. With limited fuel reserves, citizens face power outages of up to 12 hours a day.

“I have never protested in my life, but I joined today because of the arrogance and ego of Rajapaksa, who is ruining this country,” Chithra, a protester, told Efe.

“All the Rajapaksas have poisoned the national union and our lives,” he added. EFE


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