Sri Lanka’s President has fled the country following the storming of his and the Prime Minister’s residences. President Gotobaya Rajapaska was expected to step down on Wednesday, but he instead chose to flee the country. His intended destination is the Maldives.
It has been a long time coming, Sri Lanka has been ruled by the Rajapaska family since 2005. Rajapaska is credited with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers following the loss of that organization’s leader during his time in the Sri Lankan military. Since his ascendancy to the Presidency, he has only sought to consolidate power amongst his family, with his brothers having served as Prime Minister and Treasury Minister. It should come as no surprise, then, that Sri Lanka has been experiencing a severe economic crisis for the past several months. Food and shortages galvanized the people of the island nation to protest and the government responded with curfews, arrests, and social media crackdowns. When he intended on naming his ally, current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe only enraged citizens further, storming the Parliament and the Premier’s residence, demanding that he resign too.
While Gotobaya’s brothers, the former Prime Minister and Treasury Ministers, will not leave until July15th, the protests have calmed down. Protest organizers have agreed to start returning occupied government buildings while also calling for a new Prime Minister that represents everyone.
Wickremesinghe remains in power for the moment, imposing a curfew in hopes of quelling further conflict. But the only way forward seems to be that any of Gotobaya’s allies need to leave the government. Said one protester:
“We have to make society better than this. The government is not solving people’s problems.”
Truer words could not be said. Hopefully, Sri Lanka will be able to make a new way forward. Perhaps the people will be able to create a fairer, more representative and responsive government in the future.
Welcome to Thursday! Please be excellent to each other in the comments. The Mayor McSquirrel Rule remains in effect. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, if you have not been vaccinated please consider finding time to get an appointment. If you have had only one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, do not forget about the second dose! THIRD DOSES are now available for anyone over the age of 18! You can get any type of shot you like, provided you have already been double vaccinated. Even if you are vaccinated, please continue to maintain social distancing measures, wear masks in public areas in accordance with CDC guidelines in regard to your own vaccination status. EVEN VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS CAN STILL GET AND SPREAD IT.