Friday, September 30, 2022

US requests Sri Lankan leaders to act ‘quickly’ to seek long-term solutions for economic crisis

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The United States has encouraged Sri Lankan officials to move rapidly to seek long-term solutions following a significant upsurge in anti-government rallies in Colombo amid a catastrophic economic situation.

The US urges “the Sri Lankan Parliament to approach this moment with a dedication to the good of the nation – not any one political party,” according to a State Department official during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Thailand.

“We urge this government or any new, constitutionally elected government to work quickly to identify and implement solutions that will achieve long-term economic stability and address the Sri Lankan people’s discontent over the worsening economic conditions, including power, food and fuel shortages,” State Department spokesperson added, reported Sri Lankan Daily Newspaper, Daily Mirror.

The United States also warned against attacks on protesters or journalists, but also criticized violence on Saturday. “The Sri Lankan people have the right to peacefully raise their voices, and we call for the full investigation, arrest and prosecution of anyone involved in any protest-related violent incidents,” the spokesperson said.

Several dramatic videos have circulated on social media following Saturday’s uprising in which thousands of protestors poured into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official mansion in Colombo, forcing him to flee to an unknown destination.

Protesters surged into the President’s residence, tearing down police security cordons, swimming in the pool, and romping through his kitchen and home, demanding the President’s resignation.

According to the media source, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Shavendra Silva asked all residents to assist the armed forces and police in order to keep the nation peaceful. He delivered these statements in a special statement with Tri Force Commanders present.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Ministers of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando and Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara have announced their intention to resign from their respective positions with immediate effect.

Protesters in Sri Lanka also stormed into and set fire to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private mansion, enraged by the extraordinary economic situation.

Several journalists were also attacked by security personnel, prompting additional demonstrators to congregate in the vicinity, according to the Daily Mirror. To disperse the agitated demonstrators, police used water cannons.

The police also used tear gas on the demonstrators, but they nevertheless broke into the PM’s residence and set it on fire.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) fire department was notified that the Prime Minister’s private mansion in Colombo had been set on fire and that its crews were unable to access the spot owing to the turmoil.

Wickremesinghe, who was named Prime Minister in May, has indicated that he will retire in order to secure the government’s continuity and the safety of all residents.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has also decided to resign on Wednesday.

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