Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Protests in Colombo intensified on Tuesday against the Sri Lankan government amidst the ongoing economic crisis, despite Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s appeal to the people to keep patience to enable the government to resolve the situation.
The island nation is facing its worst economic crisis since independence, with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power cuts affecting a large number of the people in the island nation resulting in massive protests over the government’s handling of the situation.
“This protest will not end until this government is brought down. We will stay here for months, years. It’s not about a single-family but the entire corrupt system,” a protester had said ahead of the PM’s address.
In a special address to the nation amid the ongoing economic crisis and massive protests calling for his ouster, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday requested people to remain patient to enable the government to resolve the situation.
“Every second you protest on the road, we are losing dollars,” Mahinda Rajapaksa said, adding that “every second of the President and the government is being used to resolve this crisis.”
Rajapaksa also alleged that the protestors are insulting the Sri Lankan war heroes who fought against the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgents, asking the country’s youths to desist from the insults.
In an emotional appeal, Rajapaksa said, “We ended the war (with LTTE) not to put the people of this country into this status, we constructed highways not to keep people in queues. We built ports not to idle oil ships in our ports until we find the dollars to pay for them. We will make all efforts to overcome this crisis.”.”
Earlier, amid the ongoing economic crisis in the country, eleven coalition allies of the Sri Lankan government and the independent group of former ruling party parliamentarians led by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa on Friday wrote to President Rajapaksa requesting the removal of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the appointment of a new cabinet under a new PM.
The letter also called on the President to work with the thus appointed Prime Minister and the Cabinet and hold elections within a limited time.
Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the crush of tourism.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries. (ANI)