Sunday, August 7, 2022

Sri Lanka: Protestors storm into Prime Minister’s office

Protesters who had gathered outside of the office of Sri Lanka’s prime minister have taken over his residence on Flower Road as demonstrations in the country’s capital, Colombo, have grown more violent.

Today, security officers used tear gas to chase away protesters from Colombo’s streets. These claims come as the president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is under fire, has fled to the Maldives. Sri Lanka’s temporary leader has been named as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

As protesters prepared to be doused with tear gas by security personnel stationed outside Wickremesinghe’s home, Wickremesinghe today declared an emergency and enforced a curfew in the country’s western province. The area near the PM’s house also started to see air patrols.

Sajith Premadasa, the head of the nation’s opposition, asserted that the PM is not permitted to use the President’s powers, including the ability to impose curfews and declare emergencies.

“PM becomes acting President only if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the CJ in consultation with the Speaker forms the view that the President is unable to act,” Premadasa tweeted.

“In the absence of any of these, the PM cannot exercise the powers of President, and cannot declare curfew or a state of emergency,” he said in another tweet.

Protesters who scaled the wall to access the Sri Lankan prime minister’s mansion in Colombo were dispersed by military officers using tear gas rounds.

The Defence Ministry of Sri Lanka gave Gotabaya Rajapaksa complete permission to go to the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards, according to Sri Lankan officials who verified this today. The Sri Lankan Air Force aircraft carrying Gotabaya touched down at Male’s Velana International Airport, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The crisis-hit island country’s Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that he is yet to receive a letter of resignation from Gotabaya. “We haven’t received President Gotabaya’s resignation yet, but we hope to get one in a day,” Abeywardena told ANI.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa went into hiding after protesters surrounded his home on July 9 and declared he will step down on July 13.

The nation is going through its greatest economic crisis with skyrocketing inflation, a significant scarcity of fuel, and other basic goods.

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