The interim government must fear further unrest.
Someone should call an ambulance, a demonstrator shouts while an injured man lies on the ground. Chaos has reigned for hours in the center of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Tens of thousands protest, angry after current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled early this morning.
People have always wanted him to resign, but they also wanted him and his clan to take responsibility for what they did in Sri Lanka. “Now the power of the people rules, that’s the most important thing,” said a protester to the AP news agency. This power, it has reached its peak. Now the politicians should see the power of the people and follow the orders of the people.
Rajapaksa flees to the Maldives
Events have been unfolding since early morning. President Rajapaksa, his wife and a bodyguard boarded a military plane and flew to the Maldives, about an hour’s flight from Colombo. At that time he was still the acting head of state. It is believed that he did not resign in order to flee his country under the protection of presidential immunity.
In the morning Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed the position of President. He declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew on Colombo and the entire western province of Sri Lanka.
“Where is the change?”
The protests in the country are no longer just directed against the president, who fled from his responsibilities, against his clan or against the prime minister, who also belongs to the old guard. The ruling politicians are discredited, a demonstrator tells ARD radio.
“What did you do for 74 years? Of course there was development here. But what did it bring us in the end? They simply can’t handle money here, no matter what comes in. Where’s the change? If they use the money, that we could have gotten around – then we’d be right up front.”
A spokesman has now declared that the President will resign today. He will send a letter of resignation. On July 20th, in seven days, a new president should then be elected. Recently there was talk of an all-party government.
No calming of the masses
But there is no reassurance on the streets. Tear gas, helicopters are used, barricades are torn down by demonstrators. There is a threat of a storm for the prime minister’s seat. Because the people feel betrayed by their leaders – and they blame them for the economic crisis.
No fuel, no medicine, no food, the currency is declining: the island nation had not experienced anything like this in more than 70 years. As the day goes on – nobody knows. It doesn’t look like the masses will calm down yet.