Sri Lanka: the images of the massive protests that caused the flight of the country’s president


Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gave a televised speech on Wednesday in which he reported that he had ordered the military to do “whatever is necessary to restore order.”

The announcement came shortly after a group of protesters stormed his office, following news that the country’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled via military plane bound for the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka, south of India, made headlines this weekend after a group of protesters stormed the presidential residence and set the prime minister’s house on fire to demand a change of government.

Images broadcast globally showed some of the protesters swimming in the presidential pool.

Reuters
The reactions of the protesters after entering the premises of the office of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
A man in the swimming pool of the presidential house a day after protesters entered the building.

Reuters
A man in the swimming pool of the presidential house a day after protesters entered the building.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a severe financial crisis and does not have access to foreign currencies like the dollar or the euro to pay for their imports.

These include food, medicine and fuel.

Less than a week ago, the Sri Lankan government announced that it did not have enough foreign currency reserves to import fuel and that gasoline and diesel reserves would barely last a few days if normal consumption levels were maintained.

A police officer tests equipment in the gym of the presidential residence, a day after protesters entered the building.

Reuters
A police officer tests equipment in the gym of the presidential residence, a day after protesters entered the building.
A protester throwing a tear gas canister in Colombo.

BBC
A protester returning a tear gas canister in Colombo.

Nixon Chandranathan, one of the protesters who stormed the prime minister’s office, told the BBC that “they are still fighting,” despite calls for cooperation from the prime minister, who has been left in command of the country after the flight of President Gotabaya. Rajapaksa.

“Our goal is for Gota to leave. And Ranil and other cabinet members have to go. Now nwe need truthful and honest leaders to rebuild Sri Lanka,” he added.

People resting inside the presidential house.

Reuters
People resting inside the presidential house.
Protesters inside the presidential house in Colombo after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled.

Reuters
Protesters inside the presidential house in Colombo after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled.
Protest inside the presidential house of Sri Lanka, in Colombo.

Reuters
Protest inside the presidential house of Sri Lanka, in Colombo.

Protesters who entered the prime minister’s residence lounged on palace sofas and took photos of the many portraits that adorned the walls, many of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

Meanwhile, outside the building, a group of soldiers were standing, watching the protesters celebratingas reported by BBC journalist Tessa Wong.

A protester visibly affected by tear gas.

Reuters
A protester visibly affected by tear gas.
Protesters celebrate after storming the Prime Minister's office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 13, 2022.

EPA
Protesters celebrate after storming the prime minister’s office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 13, 2022.

The flight of President Rajapaksa puts Sri Lanka at risk of slipping into a power vacuum, at a time when it needs a functioning government to try to get out of its dire financial situation.

For BBC journalist Anbarasan Ethirajan, reporting from Colombo, his flight represents a victory for the protesters who took to the streets to express their anger against the mismanagement of the economy and the rising cost of living.

A man waves the Sri Lankan national flag in front of the presidential secretariat in Colombo on July 13, 2022.

Getty Images
A man waves the Sri Lankan national flag in front of the presidential secretariat in Colombo on July 13, 2022.


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Source-laopinion.com