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NEW DELHI, July 9: Protesters set on fire Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence in Colombo hours after he announced that he would resign from his post. The Sri Lankan Daily Mirror reported that a group of enraged protestors entered his private residence located on 5th Lane in Colombo and set it on fire. This happened after clashes erupted and a tense situation prevailed in the locality after the security forces used tear gas and attacked protesters and several journalists. In a related development, the Colombo Municipal Council fire brigade said that its team could not reach the private residence of the outgoing PM due to the unrest despite receiving information that it was set on fire.
The island nation is in a major political crisis after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled from President’s House in Colombo as enraged protesters stormed his house. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also announced earlier today that he will resign as prime minister in order to make way for an all-party government. “To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an all-party government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister,” Wickremesinghe said. Sri Lanka is passing through a tough economic crisis that has impacted the supply of essential foods, fuel and other basic commodities leading to several popular protests in the last few months.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Saturday that he will resign his office in order to make way for an all-party government on the same day President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled from his residence after massive protests in Colombo. “To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the party leaders today, to make way for an all-party government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister,”
Wickremesinghe wrote in his Twitter account. Parliament Speaker earlier demanded resignation of both president and PM after an all-party meeting. The Daily Mirror of Sri Lanka quoted Prime Minister’s Office as saying that the decision of Wickremesinghe came in view of the fact that island-wide fuel distribution is due to recommence this week, the World Food Program Director is due to visit the country this week and the Debt Sustainability report for the IMF is due to be finalised shortly.
“So as to ensure safety of the citizens, he is agreeable to this recommendation by the Opposition Party Leaders,” it added. In a special statement, the outgoing PM said: “It is essential for a new government to take over as and when the present regime vacates office.” A new government should be in office to continue engagement with the IMF and to conduct negotiations with head of World Food Program who is due to arrive in the island shortly,” he noted.
Earlier today, the PM refused the demand to resign but increasing popular demand for stepping down forced him to budge. Meanwhile, several military personnel including high level officers joined the masses in protests as thousands of people rushed to the capital in trains. Curfew and other restrictions were removed after popular demands. Earlier today, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled from President’s House as enraged protesters stormed his house. The security forces had managed to evacuate the president before the protesters entering his house. Around 30 people including security personnel were injured in clashes as the police and army used tear gas and fired in the air to ward off protestors who surrounded the presidential residence. Sri Lanka is passing through a tough economic crisis that has impacted the supply of essential foods, fuel and other basic commodities leading to several popular protests in the last few months.(KUNA)