Crowds jeer Sri Lankan PM on rare outing

Crowds jeer Sri Lankan PM on rare outing

Crowds jeer Sri Lankan PM on rare outing

Crowds jeer Sri Lankan PM on rare outing

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Boos and heckles greeted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday on his first public trip on account that nationwide protests erupted traumatic his ruling own family resign over the worsening financial crisis.

Months of blackouts and acute shortages of food, fuel, and medicines have caused big struggles throughout the South Asian island in its worst economic downturn considering independence in 1948.

On Sunday, the premier visited one of the holiest Buddhist temples — housing a reputedly 2,300-year-old tree — in Anuradhapura.

But dozens of people carried hand-written placards and chanted slogans demanding that “thieves” be banned from the sacred city, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Colombo.

“We will worship you if you stand down (as Prime Minister) and leave,” one man shouted.

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Heavily armed Special Task Force (STF) commandos were deployed while police moved to clear the road for Rajapaksa’s convoy of six vehicles.

Officials said the premier returned to the capital by helicopter.

Several major roads in the country are blocked by people protesting the lack of cooking gas, petrol, and diesel.

 

– Looting –
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In the capital, a truck transporting cooking gas was looted Sunday by crowds who had been waiting in line overnight for supplies.

Outnumbered police watched helplessly as men climbed onto the truck and got away with 84 cylinders of gas, officials said.

The government imposed a state of emergency granting the military sweeping powers to arrest and detain people on Friday after trade unions brought the country to a virtual standstill in a bid to pressure President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down.

The defense ministry said in a statement on Sunday that anti-government demonstrators were behaving in a “provocative and threatening manner” and disrupting essential services.

Unions said they would stage daily protests from Monday to pressure the government to revoke the emergency.

Union leader Ravi Kumudesh said they will mobilize both state and private sector workers to storm the national parliament when it opens its next session on May 17.

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“We also want the government to lift the emergency because it is not a solution,” Kumudesh said in a statement. “What we want is for the president and his family to go.”

President Rajapaksa, who is the brother of the prime minister Mahinda, has not been seen in public since tens of thousands attempted to storm his private residence in Colombo on March 31.

Since April 9, thousands have been camping in front of his office in Colombo.

 

– Divine intervention –

 

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Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Anuradhapura is part of a flurry of religious activity by the ruling family as it clings to power in the Buddhist-majority nation.

Local media reported that the president’s personal shaman, Gnana Akka, had charmed bottled water and delivered it to the protest site in the hope the movement would fizzle out.

Another report said the premier’s wife Shiranthi had visited a Hindu temple seeking divine help for her family’s bid to remain in power.

Official sources say the president may ask his brother Mahinda to stand down in an effort to clear the way for a united government to navigate Sri Lanka through the crisis.

But the country’s largest competition birthday celebration has already stated it will no longer be part of any authorities helmed with the aid of a member of the Rajapaksa clan.

Sri Lanka turned into a hit by means of a financial disaster after the coronavirus pandemic hammered earnings from tourism and remittances.

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In April, the U.S Introduced it changed into defaulting on its $51 billion overseas debt.

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