Sri Lankan prime minister reiterates willingness to resign
Sri Lankan prime minister reiterates willingness to resign.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted Saturday that he accepts the recommendation of party leaders to resign.
“To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government,” Wickremesinghe tweeted.
“To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister,” he said.
Wickremesinghe has not yet submitted his letter of resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Some context: If both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa resign, under the Sri Lankan constitution, the speaker of parliament will serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days. Meanwhile, parliament will elect a new president within 30 days from one of its members who will hold the office for the remaining two years of the current term.
Thousands of protesters surround stadium in Sri Lanka during cricket match against Australia
Thousands of anti-government demonstrators protested outside a stadium in Sri Lanka’s southern coastal city of Galle during the country’s Test cricket match against Australia, the world’s №1 ranked team, on Saturday.
Local media showed videos of large crowds protesting against the government outside the Galle International Stadium, which is about a two-hour drive from Colombo. They waved Sri Lankan flags and carried banners with signs reading “Power to the people” and “GotaGoHome” — demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step down over his handling of the country’s dire economic crisis.
Many protesters then defied a police ban to march to the top of a fort overlooking the stadium grounds, where they continued to hold banners and chant their demands.
The protests didn’t stop the play, however.
Australian cricket commentator Adam Collins, reporting from the stadium, described “extraordinary scenes in Galle.”
“Protesters in cranes, others on the back of trucks — it’s intense out there now, louder than ever and going nowhere,” he said on Twitter, describing what it looked like outside the stadium.
Amid economic turmoil and widespread protests in the island nation, the Australian cricket team arrived in Sri Lanka in the first week of June to play two Tests, five One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 International (T20Is) matches against the Lions.
“We’ve been following closely, it’s something we’ve spoken about in our team meetings as well,” Australian captain Pat Cummins told reporters last week.
“We’re so lucky to come here and experience Sri Lanka pretty normally. We’re certainly seeing the effects, even in the buses seeing the queues kilometres long around petrol stations, so that’s really hit home for us. No matter what the result is, we’re in a really privileged position. There’s a lot of people making this happen for us to play a bit of cricket,” he added.
On Friday, Cummins tweeted, “Sri Lanka is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in decades,” and shared a video where he sat down with two Sri Lankan locals to talk about their experience and what’s happening on the ground. He also shared a UNICEF link and asked people to support Sri Lankan children impacted by the economic crisis. 1 hr 21 min ago
At least 55 injured in protests, according to National Hospital of Sri Lanka doctor
The number of people injured in Sri Lanka’s protests has risen to 55, according to Dr. Pushpa Zoysa with the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, including three people who received gunshot wounds, she said.
Among those injured is a lawmaker from eastern Sri Lanka, she added.
Some background: Anger reached unprecedented levels in the South Asian nation of 22 million on Saturday, as more than 100,000 people amassed outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence, calling for his resignation.
Video broadcast on Sri Lankan television and on social media showed the protesters enter President’s House — Rajapaksa’s office and residence in the commercial capital — after breaking through security cordons placed by police. Images show demonstrators inside the building and hanging banners from the balcony, as well as swimming in the residence’s pool.
Rajapaksa is not at the site and has been moved elsewhere, security officials told CNN. It is unclear how many security personnel are present at the location.
Protesters then also breached Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official residence, known as Temple Trees, according to local media reports, while video of protesters entering the gates to Wickremesinghe’s residence circulated on social media on Saturday.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he is willing to resign and make way for an all-party government to take over, the prime minister’s office said Saturday.
The statement comes after a meeting of party leaders, held by Sri Lanka’s parliament speaker, agreed to ask both the president and prime minister to resign per an “overwhelming request,” Sri Lankan MP Rauff Hakeem tweeted on Saturday.
The prime minister’s office said: “So as to ensure safety of the citizens, he is agreeable to this recommendation by the opposition party leaders.”
The decision also comes as fuel distribution is due to recommence this week, when the World Food Programme Director is also set to visit the country, and ahead of a debt sustainability report for the International Monetary Fund, the prime minister’s office added.
Protesters have breached the official residence of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, known as Temple Trees, according to local media.
Video of protesters entering the gates to the residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe circulated on social media on Saturday.
Wickremesinghe had been earlier moved to a secure location, his office confirmed.
Some background: Protesters have also broken into the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s official residence in Colombo. Video broadcast on Sri Lankan television and on social media showed protesters enter President’s House — Rajapaksa’s office and residence in the commercial capital — after breaking through security cordons placed by police.
Images show demonstrators inside the building and hanging banners from the balcony, as well as swimming in the residence’s pool.
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