Sri Lankan Prime Minister refuses to go, deepening national crisis

Fury exploded on the streets of the Sri Lankan capital on July 13, as Sri Lankan leaders did not respect the agreement to abandon the positions of president and prime minister.

The official resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe occurred, but then turned back.

Rajapaksa, his wife, and two bodyguards chose to flee to the Maldives from Colombo, the capital of the island nation, at the beginning of July 13.

Protesters responded to this decision in unison by attacking Wickremesinghe’s office and demanding that he also vacate his post.

The Prime Minister had previously agreed to resign in an official statement released on July 9.

After taking charge, Wickremesinghe immediately declared a state of emergency and withdrew it hours later.

This was followed by a request to restore order within the besieged capital.

Wickremesinghe then declared a national curfew until the morning of July 14 in a desperate bid to stop the wave of anxiety in the capital.

He said demonstrators had no right to destroy his office and were trying to thwart the proper transition of the government.

“They want to stop the parliamentary process, but we must respect the Constitution, so security forces advised me to impose an emergency and a curfew. I’m working to do that, “he said at a press conference.

Sri Lanka
Demonstrators escape from tear gas used by police during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 9, 2022. (DinukaLiyanawatte / Reuters)

Police and protesters clashed on a street outside the Prime Minister’s Office on July 13 as law enforcement agencies fired tear gas on a crowd of demonstrators.

At least one 26-year-old protester reportedly died in the hospital after developing dyspnea due to excessive gas exposure.

Earlier that day, the state-owned television station Sri Lanka Pabahini Corporation (SLRC) interrupted television broadcasts as angry opponents surrounded the station.

Company officials reported that a group of demonstrators managed to enter the premises and demanded that the station broadcast only news related to anti-government demonstrations.

Congress will elect a new president next week.

Some experts say that Wickremesinghe’s attempt to take power will face fierce opposition, whether elected or not.

Anger among civilians has been built around the country’s tragic economic crisis since March, leaving thousands of Sri Lankans without food, fuel, or medicine.

The fact that Wickremesinghe, who is intimately confident of the exiled president, could be elected to the country’s highest position next week left a bitter taste on the opposition.

“This is Rajapaksa-style democracy. What a farce. What a tragedy,” said opposition presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa. Said In a Twitter post.

Autumn Spredemann


Autumn is a South American-based reporter who focuses primarily on Latin American issues in The Epoch Times.