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Sri Lanka’s President Resigns After Months of Protest-EnglishHindiBlogs-News

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Colombo, Sri Lanka – President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, He, who fled his country early Wednesday after months of fierce protests blaming him for the country’s economic collapse and widespread hardship, officially resigned on Thursday, sparking celebrations in his homeland.

Mr Rajapaksa submitted his resignation by email from Singapore, where he had traveled for the first time since fleeing to the Maldives. Mr Rajapaksa went into hiding on Saturday as protesters stormed his official residence in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo before leaving the country on Wednesday.

Even with news that the president had stepped down, the protest movement that forced the island nation’s powerful political dynasty over the country’s financial ruin continued largely as it continued for months. Speeches and music played from a main stage in Colombo, while protesters strategized in tents by the beautiful sea.

Anger flared up in the other corner. Large numbers of protesters clashed with security forces overnight, confiscating the weapons of at least two soldiers as they tried to make their way into parliament in what appears to be a long-term political crisis.

Activists on Thursday struggled to keep things calm and ensure that a mass civilian movement doesn’t help tip a country that is still in utter chaos from the legacy of a decades-long civil war . During the three months of protests, they have protected their reputation as a peaceful movement. But infighting within the political elite over the emptiness of power following the escape of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is now testing his patience.

In an effort to defuse tensions, protest organizers on Thursday announced they were pulling out of most government buildings, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which they had occupied. They have taken care to keep historic buildings intact, employing volunteers to clean up after hordes of visitors and discourage rowdy youth from climbing mango trees in the garden or damaging antique furniture.

“We are moving out of occupied buildings because we want to preserve these places, and we don’t want people to vandalize these places, nor do we want the state or other actors to use vandalism to kill us and the movement.” Do it to defame,” said Buwanaka Pereira, the organizer of a protest camp that has been operating for more than three months at a seaside park.

“So it is better to hand it over to the state,” Mr Perera said. “The State of Sri Lanka, not the President, not the Prime Minister, but the State.”

Mr Rajapaksa had ruled out an orderly change of power amid mounting protests, but he is now handing the reins over to the highly unpopular Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Succession plans were complicated without Mr Rajapaksa’s resignation, which he promised to submit on Wednesday and end his time in office.

The protesters blamed the Rajapaksa dynasty for the mismanagement of the country’s economy, which is essentially out of money and running low on fuel, food and essential medicines.

After Mr. Rajapaksa, there were protests in Maldives as well. In the capital, Male, about 100 Sri Lankan migrant workers gathered, carrying signs and placards urging the authorities not to protect them. “Dear Maldives friends, please urge your government not to protect criminals,” read a banner. “Throw him out of here,” read another.

Maldivian officials confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa had left for Singapore around noon on a Saudi airline flight, a regular commercial flight between the two countries that passes through the Maldives. They could not say whether Mr. Rajapaksa’s final destination was Singapore or Saudi Arabia.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa had been allowed to enter Singapore on a private visit. It said it was neither granted nor sought asylum, and is a request that Singapore rarely grants.

Either destination – one the location of Islam’s holiest site, and the other an economic superpower – proves uncomfortable for Mr. Rajapaksa, social media users were quick to point out. During his time in office he was accused of Islamophobic policies while doing little to turn Sri Lanka into another Singapore, a goal he mentioned in speeches.

In Mr. Rajapaksa’s absence, the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has stepped into the role of Acting President. But protesters have long called for his resignation as well, and he is a deeply divisive figure in parliament, where he lacks support. The successor would have to go through a parliamentary vote to complete the remaining two years of Mr. Rajapaksa’s term.

Upon taking office, Mr Wickremesinghe, whose private residence was torched, ordered a state of emergency to rid the country of the “fascist menace”. He also asked the security forces to restore law and order.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that two soldiers whose weapons were stolen outside parliament were “brutally attacked” with iron rods and batons, and that the armed forces were trying to “ensure national security”. will work together.

If this description is correct, the attack marks a sharp departure from the peaceful roots of the movement against the Rajapaksa family and its allies, which began with little candlelight and ended in the takeover of the country’s highest offices. It has drawn support from a wide section of society: students and trade unionists, Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks, farmers and middle-class professionals. It lacks clear leaders; A group of activists, trying to coordinate their movements and consolidate their differing goals.

In the protest camp, the mood was a bit rough. The crowd had dwindled, and the slogans of protest changed from condemning Mr. Gotabaya to calling for Mr. Wickremesinghe to leave.

As a grassroots citizens’ movement, there are many stakeholders with different objectives, some of whom are ready for a negotiated solution through Parliament, and others who want to change the constitution earlier.

Some acknowledged that the largely leadershipless effort made the task of containing protests even harder in moments of tension – especially after it failed following the promised resignation of Mr. Rajapaksa.

“We have no control over people’s anger, especially when they have been mocked in this manner,” said Namal Jayaveera, a retired human resources professional. foreign currency which left him unable to pay for his son’s college tuition in Canada.

While this weekend’s takeover of the presidential residence and office was largely peaceful, the latter’s business has been more frenzied, with protesters clearing trash and clearing halls.

Protesters forcibly occupied Mr Wickremesinghe’s offices on Wednesday, moving files of security forces who had fired tear gas incessantly, apart from the earlier arson at his private residence. This was followed by overnight clashes in parliament, actions that risked a more forceful response from the police and the loss of a seat at the table as political leaders discuss next steps.

A day after the clashes outside Parliament House, the place was barren, except for a handful of soldiers erecting reinforced steel barricades. At the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the prime minister’s official residence, known as the Temple Tree, protesters showed one last trick of spectators as they prepared to clear the buildings.

Organizers of the protest movement said they would continue to press for the old Parliament building, which until recently served as the president’s offices, and the beautiful Galle Face as their campsite for the past 100 days.

Swastika Arulingam, one of the organizers of the protest, said in a statement, “People have gathered in the old parliament to send a very clear message to not only the executive but the legislature – that we want you to do your job.” Agitation. We will continue to protest until we reach the goals of our struggle.

Ms. Arulingam was sharp in her criticism of political leaders for filling in the blanks left by Mr. Rajapaksa instead of proceeding to meet the people’s key demands: most immediately, uninterrupted supply of essential commodities, such as fuel and food, And then to reform the political system to provide better checks and balances.

“For the last three days, these politicians have acted as if this country is their personal property,” she said. “They have put our country at risk; They have put our national security at risk.”

Skanda Gunasekhar and Emily Schmall from Colombo and Mujeeb Mashal from New Delhi reported. Uwin Lugoda contributed reporting from Colombo, Sui-Lee Wei from Phuket, Thailand and Mahil Mohamed from Male, Maldives contributed.


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