August 13, 2022

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A state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka on Tuesday saw new massive protests, and hundreds of protesters stormed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office in Colombo. At first the police repelled them with grenades and tear gas, but after a while the protesters managed to get past the barriers surrounding the building and seize it. Something similar has already happened Saturday Finally when they stormed the presidential palace. In response, Wickremesinghe I have announced The state of emergency imposed a curfew (as it did in April) and ordered the army to “do everything necessary to restore order”.

The new protests came on Wednesday morning after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa managed to flee the country and seek refuge in the Maldives overnight. Rajapaksa has also transferred his powers to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as required by Sri Lanka’s constitution in the absence of the President. Many protesters did not accept this transfer of power and decided to storm the Prime Minister’s office in protest.

Indeed, in recent days, protesters have called for the resignation of both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe, and that there was an immediate change of government. Rajapaksa’s choice of handing over his powers to the Prime Minister was seen by many as an attempt by the president to retain control of the country at least indirectly. Rajapaksa, who should have formally given his resignation on Wednesday, July 13, has not yet done so. Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe asked Parliament to appoint a new Prime Minister, which has yet to be done.

If Rajapaksa does indeed formalize his resignation, Parliament is expected to meet on Friday to elect a new president, but due to the state of emergency it is not excluded that interim President Wickremesinghe will remain in office for a longer period, possibly with a new prime minister.

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Shortly after protesters stormed his office, Wickremesinghe issued a televised speech saying he had ordered the military “to do whatever it takes to restore order” and called on the protesters to leave. We cannot tear up our constitution. We cannot allow the fascists to take over. We must put an end to this fascist threat to democracy.

Protesters have been accusing the president for some time strong family Cronyism, corruption and not doing enough to avert the worst crisis since 1948, the year Sri Lanka gained independence from the United Kingdom. Rajapaksa left the country on Wednesday morning on a military plane with his wife and two security personnel, and arrived around three in the morning local time (midnight in Italy) in the archipelago of the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, about a thousand kilometers within the southwest of Sri Lanka.

On Monday evening, he was stopped by border guards at an airport – it is not clear which one – while trying to board a plane bound for Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates; The guardian Writes That the government of India, the state closest to Sri Lanka, refused to grant him permission to enter the country on a military plane.

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Rajapaksa had fled his residence and his whereabouts have not been known since Saturday when hundreds of people left They stormed the presidential palace In the capital, Colombo, to protest the crisis. Demonstrators also stormed the Wickremesinghe headquarters, which was appointed in early May after the resignation of the outgoing prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s brother.

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According to his source BBC Rajapaksa does not intend to stay in the Maldives, but would like to go in another country, perhaps specifically the United Arab Emirates. In these hours, Basil Rajapaksa, another brother of the president and former economy minister, has left Sri Lanka and is said to be heading to the United States.

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