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Sri Lanka: President To Resign on Wednesday; Protesters Set PM's House on Fire

Wickremesinghe had earlier announced that he would resign from his post to make way for an all-party government.

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Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad

Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose residence was stormed by protesters on Saturday, 9 July, will resign from his post on Wednesday, Sri Lanka's NewsWire reported.

Consequently, the House Speaker will become president for the next 30 days until Parliament elects a new president.

As Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis since Independence in 1948, here are the key highlights of what transpired on Saturday:

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1. Protesters Storm President Gotayabaya's Residence, Set PM House Ablaze

Thousands of protesters breached police barricades and stormed the residence of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo.

At least 30 people, including two police officials, were injured amid clashes between security forces and protesters, in one of the biggest anti-government rallies the country has seen in recent months. The police also fired tear gas shells to disperse them.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's private residence in Colombo was set on fire by the protesters earlier on Saturday, hours after he announced that he will resign from his post.

2. PM Wickremesinghe Summons Emergency Meet

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe summoned an emergency meeting of political party leader amid growing anger of the public.

The PM also requested the Speaker to summon Parliament, a statement from the PMO said.

3. President Gotabaya Flees Amid Unrest, Agrees To Resign

Rajapaksa had already left his official residence and had been moved to a secure location on Friday as a safety measure, reported Reuters citing government sources.

Although there's still no confirmation about the embattled president's whereabouts, reports by Sri Lanka's News 1st channel revealed that luggage was rushed onto the Sri Lanka Navy Ship Gajabahu anchored at the Colombo Port.
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4. Curfew Imposed; Lifted Amid Protests

An indefinite curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka on Friday, a day ahead of Saturday's rally, demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa amid the worsening economic crisis in the country.

However, the police later withdrew the curfew after Opposition parties, activists and the country's bar association threatened to file a lawsuit against police chief Chandana Wickramaratne.

5. PM Informs Prez, New Govt Should Be Ready To Assume Duties: PMO

Meanwhile, ANI quoted the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's Office as saying:

"PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said he has informed the president that an all-party government must be formed. He said that there is a fuel crisis in the country, a food shortage and the World Food Program Director is due to arrive in the country."

Further, according to ANI the PMO added that "when this government resigns, it is essential that another government be ready to immediately assume duties to ensure stability."

Earlier, 16 MPs of the president's party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), had asked him to resign immediately.

6. 'Freedom of Media is Paramount': Wickremesinghe Expresses Regret Over Security Personnel Attacking Journalists

Further, according to the PMO, Wickremesinghe has expressed grave regret over the assault on journalists who were covering the ongoing protests, by security personnel.

“Freedom of media is paramount to democracy in Sri Lanka,” the PMO quoted him as saying, according to ANI.

“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe requests both the security forces and the protesters to act with restraint to prevent any violence and ensure the safety of the public.”
Sri Lankan PMO
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(With inputs from Reuters and ANI.)

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Topics:  srilanka 

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