SRI LANKA’S revolutionary anti-government demonstrators said yesterday they were ending their occupation of official buildings, but vowed to press on with their revolution to destroy the Rajapaksa regime after the president fled and the PM resigned.
‘We are peacefully withdrawing from the Presidential Palace, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office with immediate effect, but will continue our struggle,’ a spokeswoman for the protesters said.
Workers and youth stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s palace at the weekend, forcing him to flee to the Maldives on Wednesday, when the masses also stormed and took over the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
In a televised address, after tens of thousands of people captured his office in Colombo, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe condemned the revolutionary masses stating: ‘Those who go to my office want to stop me from discharging my responsibilities as acting president.
‘We can’t allow fascists to take over. That is why I declared a nationwide emergency and a curfew.’
The curfew was lifted at dawn yesterday, but police said a soldier and a constable were injured in overnight clashes with masses of protesters outside the national parliament.
The attempt on the legislature was beaten back.
The main hospital in Colombo said about 85 people were admitted with injuries on Wednesday, with one man suffocating to death after being tear-gassed at the premier’s office.
Yesterday, the self appointed ‘acting president Wickremesinghe’ re-imposed the curfew from noon (06:30 GMT) to 05:00 today to quell protests.
This came as it emerged that Sri Lanka’s deposed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had left the Maldives on a Saudi airlines flight bound for Singapore.
Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives a day earlier driven out by the uprising by workers and youth over Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.
Wickremesinghe was ‘appointed acting president’ by Rajapaksa after the latter fled on a military plane on Tuesday night.
That decision triggered further mass protests demanding that the PM also resign.
Rajapaksa’s attempts to secure a visa to the United States has been turned down because he had renounced his US citizenship in 2019 before running for president.
The Sri Lankan masses remain determined to smash the Rajapaksa regime and go forward to a workers government and a Workers Republic.
However, the counter revolutionary forces are now gathering.
Sri Lanka’s former Army chief and Member of Parliament Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that he is ready to take the Presidency if the majority of MPs elect him.
He said a group from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was also backing him.
Sri Lanka’s former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa also yesterday gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court through their lawyers that they will not leave the crisis-hit country until the Fundamental Rights petition filed against them is heard today.
Sri Lanka’s parliament will not convene today as announced earlier, the speaker’s office said yesterday.
The next date for the country’s parliament to meet will be announced within the next three days if President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation letter is received by the speaker today, the speaker’s office said in a statement yesterday.