Sri Lankan protesters moved Sunday to occupy the residence of the president and prime minister until the pair were forced to resign.
According to Reuters, thousands of protesters took President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home and office as demonstrators displayed frustration over his inability to deal with the economic crisis and violence plaguing the nation.
According to the speaker of parliament, Rajapaksa will step down on July 13 in order for an all-party interim administration to take office. Wickremesinghe has also declared his intention to do the same.
“The president has to resign, the prime minister has to resign and the government has to go,” playwright Ruwanthie de Chickera told a news conference at the main protest site in Colombo.
She claimed that until then, the protesters would remain outside the president’s and prime minister’s official mansions. She was flanked by other figures who were assisting in organizing the anti-government campaign.
Despite the fact that Colombo’s streets were once again calm on Sunday, curious Sri Lankans spent the entire day exploring the destroyed presidential residence. Security personnel were stationed outside the compound, some armed with assault guns, but they did not deter visitors from entering.
“I’ve never seen a place like this in my life,” 61-year-old handkerchief seller B.M. Chandrawathi, accompanied by her daughter and grandchildren, told Reuters as she tried out a plush sofa in a first-floor bedroom.
“They enjoyed super luxury while we suffered. We were hoodwinked. I wanted my kids and grandkids to see the luxurious lifestyles they were enjoying.”
A few young men were lounging nearby on a four-poster bed, while others competed for turns on a treadmill that was placed in front of huge windows that overlooked perfectly maintained grounds.
The political unrest could make it more difficult to help Sri Lanka recover from its worst economic crisis in seven decades, which was brought on by a severe foreign currency shortage that has halted imports of necessities like fuel, food, and medication.
The COVID-19 epidemic severely damaged the tourism-based economy and reduced remittances from foreign employees, which led to the financial crisis.
Large and rising government debt, rising energy prices, and a seven-month import restriction on chemical fertilizers last year that completely destroyed agriculture have all contributed to this problem.