Sri Lanka Faces An Unprecedented Crises
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa plans to resign this week as a result of a failed political system. His family has controlled politics in the country for many years, but a combination of factors has reached a climax forcing the President to step down: crippling inflation, global spikes in food and energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine, and ballooning import bills. The beautiful country is a nation of 23 million crammed into a small island. President Rajapaksa will resign to facilitate a smooth transfer of power. The tipping point came on July 9, in the midst of the economic crisis. Crowds of protesters swarmed the presidential residence, jumping into his swimming pool, invading his bedroom, cooking in his kitchen, and even setting the home on fire.
Rajapaksa’s whereabouts are unknown. He did leave the residence on Friday ahead of the planned protests. Many Sri Lankans hold his family’s dynasty responsible for the country’s economic crisis. There have been months of sustained protests, but Saturday’s uprising brought the events to a head. The march was led by thousands carrying the country’s red and yellow flags and chanting, “Gota, go home!” A 34- year-old lawyer, Himantha Wickremerathne, who joined the protests said, “People from all walks of life have united with one intention – to demand that the corrupt president who clearly does not have a mandate step down”
- The Washington Post, Asia Section, July 9, 2022, by Hafeel Farisz and Niha Masih.