Over economic crisis, students in Sri Lanka rush to the office for Prime Minister


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Colombo – Thousands of students from Sri Lanka besieged the house of Prime Minister Mahinda Ramapaksa Sunday to demand his resignation amid worsening economic conditions in the island nation.
Public discontent in Sri Lanka has been sparked by prolonged power outages, record levels of inflation and severe fuel and food shortages as the country struggles to recover from its worst recession since 1948 independence.
Police placed barricades around the capital in order to stop demonstrators from reaching them. Student leaders also climbed the Rajapaksa compound fence in Colombo.
Unidentified student leader stood atop the wall and said, “You can block the road but you can’t stop the fight until the whole government gets home.”
Protesters attempted to remove barricades blocking them from entering the home, but were confronted with rows of police wearing riot shields.
Some held signs that said “Go home Gota” – Mahinda’s younger sibling – while others wore Guy Fawkes masks which are synonymous with the anti-establishment movements.
Police said that Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ruling clan leader of Sri Lanka, was absent from the scene. The crowd then left the area peacefully.
For more than two weeks thousands of protesters have gathered outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s waterfront office demanding his resignation and that of his brother.
During demonstrations throughout the country, large crowds attempted to storm the offices and homes government officials.
Police shot and killed a Rambukana man during a roadblockade. This is the first death since the protests began last month.
After the coronavirus pandemic decimated vital income from tourism, remittances and tourism, Sri Lanka is now experiencing an economic crisis.
Inability to finance basic imports led to shortages in rice, milk powder and sugar as well as medicines. The problem was exacerbated by runaway inflation.
Long-term blackouts have been imposed by utilities that are unable to pay their fuel costs. As people waited for fuel and kerosene to run out, long lines formed at gas stations every morning.
Ali Sabri, the Finance Minister, is in Washington negotiating an International Monetary Fund bailout. He warned Friday that Sri Lanka’s economy could worsen.

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