Amid violent protests, Sri Lanka President urged to dissolve cabinet, form interim govt

Opposition parties on Friday charged that the peaceful protest was turned towards violence by a pro-government group which joined later. Police curfew was imposed on parts of capital Colombo and its suburbs until the morning.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa Former President of Sri Lanka
Gotabaya Rajapaksa Former President of Sri Lanka

Colombo, April 2 : Following violent protests near Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s house on Thursday night, 11 government-affiliated parties have urged him to immediately dissolve the Cabinet and form an interim government with the consent of all parties to resolve the ongoing economic crisis.

The parties, which worked to bring Rajapaksa to power and form the government in
2019, said the current cabinet cannot be continued with the economic crisis that has forced people to suffer without fuel, electricity, LP gas, medicine, milk powder and other food items.

The group was led by former Energy Minister, Udaya Gammanpila and former Industries
Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who were sacked by the President following their public criticism against Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is the President’s brother, on March 2. They had charged him with responsibility for economic mismanagement and the country’s present plight.

The two ex-ministers had formed a coalition comprising 11 political parties who are with the government.

Started by a group of apolitical citizens, a protest was organised at Mirihana, a Colombo suburb close to President Rajapaksa’s residence on Thursday evening. Later the crowd walked up to the President’s house chanting protest slogans like “Gotabaya go home”. Hours after the peaceful protest blocking the byroad leading to the house of President, police tried to disperse the protestors with water cannons and teargas which resulted in the crowd getting agitated.

Amid protests against the police attacks, people torched a bus, jeep, and a three-
wheeler belonged to police. In turn, police had arrested 53 people, including a woman, while 24 policemen and 15 civilians including three journalists have been injured and admitted to a hospital.

Opposition parties on Friday charged that the peaceful protest was turned towards violence by a pro-government group which joined later. Police curfew was imposed on parts of capital Colombo and its suburbs until the morning.

A dollar crunch lead economic crisis has left the Indian Ocean island nation without fuel for power generation and transport leaving many jobless. Daily, 13-hour power cuts have been imposed as thermal power plants shut down without diesel. Since January, India has assisted Sri Lanka to face the financial crisis by providing nearly $2.5 billion credit lines and currency swaps to get food, medicine and fuel including a $500 million credit line on Saturday to import a diesel shipment to re-start the power plants which were shutdown without fuel.

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