Sri Lanka crisis: Protests escalate as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa refuses to resign
The Sri Lankan economic crisis is escalating by the minute with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa refusing to step down, despite assuring to do so on Wednesday. He appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the acting President after he fled to Male, Maldives, with his wife and two staffers on Wednesday, infuriating protesters further.
Protesters have so far taken over the Presidential palace, PM’s office, PM’s house, and the state broadcaster. Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa called the government’s actions thus far “total anarchy”.
Protesters said they did not want Wickremesinghe at the helm of the country’s affairs as he was handpicked by Rajapaksa. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena had said that Rajapaksa would resign on Monday, but the President did not. Abeywardena also told the country that an election to elect the new President would be held on July 20.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung on Wednesday urged Sri Lanka’s political fraternity to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and called for the rule of law to be upheld in the crisis-hit island nation. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said it is closely monitoring the situation in the island nation but would not interfere in the country’s affairs.