The entire Sri Lankan cabinet has resigned amid en masse protests by the people against the government's poor handling of the worst economic crisis in decades.
All 26 ministers submitted letters of resignation, except for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his younger brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said reports.
Thousands of anti-government protesters defied curfew to take to the streets in several cities, to voice dissatisfaction against the handling of an economic crisis reportedly the worst since the country achieved independence from the UK in 1948.
The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which is used to pay for fuel imports. Citizens have then had to contend with power cuts lasting half a day or more, as well as severe shortages of food, medicines, and fuel.
At the height of protests, the Sri Lankan authorities even blocked access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, that protestors were using to rally support.
President Gotabaya imposed a curfew on Friday after protestors converged near his residence, but the sight of heavily armed soldiers and tear-gas firing police did not deter thousands of men, women, students, and even children, from taking to the streets calling for the entire Rajapaksa family to step down, along with the cabinet.
Following the en masse resignation, government coalition parties are now calling for a caretaker cabinet to be appointed to put the situation back on track.
Sri Lanka has this year alone, amassed a whopping US$7 billion in foreign debt obligations, and Mahinda had said that his government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance, as well as looking at China and India for loans.
Source: BBC, abc.net.au
Photos source: AP via abc.net.au
Mon Apr 04 2022