Sri Lanka in revolt: houses of government officials on fire

The spiral of violence that Sri Lanka has slipped into after the explosion of the worst economic crisis in the country’s recent history does not stop. Protesters have managed to secure the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has no plans to do the same. For this reason, the unions have called for a new week of protests from Monday 9 May. The goal is to reach one complete change of government, which for decades has seen members of the Rajapaksa family occupy most of the key positions. Violent clashes between pro-government protesters and those demanding their departure have been recorded throughout the Colombo district.

All key positions in the Sri Lankan government are in fact occupied for years by members of the Rajapaksa family. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned as prime minister on Monday 9 May, was president during the country’s very long civil war, in which government forces and the Tamil Tigers’ paramilitary group opposed, ending in the latter’s defeat in 2009. Under then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Minister of Defense. Other key positions in the government were filled by brothers Basil and Chamal Rajapaksa, who resigned last month to avoid a worsening of the crisis. So did Namal Rajapaksa, son of Mahinda.

Government spokeswoman Nalaka Godahewa reported that Mahinda’s resignation (which came at the end of a day of violence in which 5 people died, including a member of parliament) was followed by the resignation of her entire cabinet. In contrast Gotabaya has shown no intention of resigning, why the protesters decided to continue the protests. The clashes took on an even more violent nature following the attack on Monday, May 9, against groups of peaceful protesters who had been camped on the Galle Face waterfront in downtown Colombo for a month in front of government offices. They were actually violently attacked by groups of government supporters, causing injuries to nearly 200 people.

The population, in response, he set fire to vehicles and homes of government officials all over the island. Monday night, protesters were shot dead as they tried to enter the prime minister’s residence and set fire to a truck parked on the street. The former prime minister was rescued and transported to a secret location by the army. On the same day, lawmaker Amarakeerthi Athukorala, a member of the ruling party, shot dead a 27-year-old man and was later found dead along with his bodyguard in circumstances that have not yet been clarified. The houses of 40 pro-Rajapaksa politicians they were set on fire the same day.

It has protesters too a mayor’s house burned down of a small town near Colombo because he had accompanied eight buses of Rajapaksa family supporters to express solidarity with the government. Thousands of supporters of the Rajapaksa family have gathered in Colombo from across the country in recent weeks.

The Ministry of Defense on Tuesday, May 10, authorized the police to “shoot in sight to anyone who plunders public property or causes damage to life. ”The anti-government protesters have also tried to block roads and airports to ensure no politician can leave the state.

Now that Mahinda Rajapaksa is no longer a minister, the government has been dissolved, but the main opposition party has declared that it will not contribute to the formation of a new government until the president resigns. The current state of insecurity and suspension further complicates attempts to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to find a way out of the economic crisis. Currently, foreign exchange reserves have fallen to $ 50 million, making it impossible to import food, medicine and fuel. Without the appointment of a new government, the IMF said, loan negotiations would not be able to continue.

[di Valeria Casolaro]

Leave a Comment