Sri Lanka: Pres. Rajapaksa to resign after palace stormed

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Murihiku
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10 Jul 2022, 4:53 am

Sri Lanka: President Rajapaksa to resign after palace stormed
By George Wright, BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62108597

Quote:
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has announced he will step down after protesters stormed his official residence and set the prime minister's house on fire.

Neither the PM nor the president were in the buildings at the time.

Hundreds of thousands descended on the capital Colombo, calling for Mr Rajapaksa to resign after months of protests over economic mismanagement.

Mr Rajapaksa will step down on 13 July. PM Wickremesinghe has agreed to resign.

The speaker of parliament said the president decided to step down "to ensure a peaceful handover of power" and called on the public to "respect the law".

The announcement triggered an eruption of celebratory fireworks in the city.

Political leaders are due to hold further meetings to discuss a smooth transition of power. Sri Lanka's military has appealed to people to cooperate with security forces to maintain calm.

After Saturday's events, the United States appealed to the Sri Lankan leadership to act promptly to resolve the country's economic crisis.

One protester, Fiona Sirmana, who was demonstrating at the president's house, said it was time "to get rid of the president and the prime minister and to have a new era for Sri Lanka".

"I feel very, very sad that they didn't go earlier because had they gone earlier there wouldn't have been any destruction," she told Reuters.

Dozens of people were injured in Saturday's protests, and a spokesperson for Colombo's main hospital told AFP news agency that three people were being treated for gunshot wounds.

Sri Lanka is suffering rampant inflation and is struggling to import food, fuel and medicine amid the country's worst economic crisis in 70 years.

It has run out of foreign currency and has had to impose a ban on sales of petrol and diesel for private vehicles, leading to days-long queues for fuel.

The extraordinary events of Saturday appeared to be the culmination of months of mainly peaceful protests in Sri Lanka.

Huge crowds converged on the official residence of President Rajapaksa, chanting slogans and waving the national flag before breaking through the barricades and entering the property.

Footage online showed people roaming through the house and swimming in the president's pool, while others emptied out a chest of drawers, picked through the president's belongings and used his luxurious bathroom.

The contrast between the luxury of the palace and the months of hardship endured by the country's 22 million people was not lost on the protesters.

"When the whole country is under such strain people have come here to release that pressure. When you see the luxuries in this house it is obvious that they don't have time to work for the country," Chanuka Jayasuriya told Reuters.


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Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


Last edited by Murihiku on 10 Jul 2022, 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

PhosphorusDecree
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10 Jul 2022, 5:24 am

Blimey. Only yesterday I was reading an article about the Rajapaksa brothers' stranglehold over all major roles in the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lankan politics seems to be rough at the best of times - their Parliament is notorious for Buddhist monks starting fist-fights.


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Murihiku
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10 Jul 2022, 5:54 pm

From the video footage I saw, there seemed to be Buddhist monks among the protestors outside the presidential palace. It's amazing to see how huge those protests were. It's not often we see a political leader deposed through a people's revolution these days (Arab Spring notwithstanding), but perhaps not surprising given the dire state of the Sri Lankan economy right now.

President Rajapaksa is currently on board a naval ship. His resignation was announced by the parliamentary speaker and not the president himself. Apparently the protestors are going to continue occupying the presidential palace until Rajapaksa tenders his resignation in person. The Prime Minister has already personally confirmed his resignation.

On Wednesday the parliament will try to form an all-party coalition to govern the country, but I'm not sure how the new president will be chosen.


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It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


DavidJSNSW64
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10 Jul 2022, 6:06 pm

It goes to show you can run a corrupt nepotistic regime for a while but when an external economic crisis comes, your regime will take a massive beating - sometimes a fatal one.

Transparent democracies with a minimum of corruption are far superior economically as well as better countries to live in. I hope the Russians are taking note.



cyberdad
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11 Jul 2022, 5:25 am

Protestors enjoying themselves in the prime minister's residence

Image

Image

Image

Image

And they have a request from the former prime minister

Image



Murihiku
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11 Jul 2022, 9:51 am

^ I think that's the presidential palace. The prime minister's home was set alight by protestors.

The presidential palace seems to have become a sightseeing hotspot. People have been converging from all over, wanting to see how President Rajapaksa lived, in contrast with their own lives.

...

We're also getting more information about how Sri Lanka will be governed going forward. Opposition parties have apparently agreed to form an interim all-party governing coalition. The current president, prime minister and Cabinet will all resign, starting with the president on 13 July.

Parliament will convene on 15 July and parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena will take over as interim president until the parliament can elect a new one on 20 July, who will serve out the remaining two years of Rajapaksa's presidential term. Beyond that seems less clear, for now.


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It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


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11 Jul 2022, 2:31 pm

Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster

Quote:
Verité found in a July survey that three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s farmers relied heavily on chemical fertilizers, while just about 10 percent cultivated without them. Almost all major crops grown in the country depend on the chemicals. For crops crucial to the economy like rice, rubber and tea, the dependence reaches 90 percent or more.

The April ban went into effect just before what is known as the Yala planting season, which lasts from May to August, and was felt almost immediately. The Verité survey showed that 85 percent of farmers expected a reduction in their harvest because of the fertilizer ban. Half of them feared that their crop yield could fall by as much as 40 percent.

Food prices shot up in September, and people formed lines outside shops for basic items such as milk powder and kerosene. Mr. Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency to regulate prices and prevent the hoarding of essential items. The government also introduced import restrictions on nonessential items in hopes of dealing with the dwindling foreign exchange.

Now that the government is easing the policy, it isn’t clear whether Sri Lanka’s farmers will get their needed fertilizer in time. The Maha planting season runs from September to March.

Genius.

Well done.


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cyberdad
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12 Jul 2022, 4:27 am

Murihiku wrote:
Parliament will convene on 15 July and parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena will take over as interim president until the parliament can elect a new one on 20 July, who will serve out the remaining two years of Rajapaksa's presidential term. Beyond that seems less clear, for now.


It's positively a disaster what's happened to this country. In the 1950s former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew earmarked Sri Lanka (he called it Ceylon in those days) as the only place in Asia that could compete with Singapore due to the natural harbor, the abundant resources and highly educated population.



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12 Jul 2022, 4:27 am

SkinnedWolf wrote:
Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster
Quote:
Verité found in a July survey that three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s farmers relied heavily on chemical fertilizers, while just about 10 percent cultivated without them. Almost all major crops grown in the country depend on the chemicals. For crops crucial to the economy like rice, rubber and tea, the dependence reaches 90 percent or more.

The April ban went into effect just before what is known as the Yala planting season, which lasts from May to August, and was felt almost immediately. The Verité survey showed that 85 percent of farmers expected a reduction in their harvest because of the fertilizer ban. Half of them feared that their crop yield could fall by as much as 40 percent.

Food prices shot up in September, and people formed lines outside shops for basic items such as milk powder and kerosene. Mr. Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency to regulate prices and prevent the hoarding of essential items. The government also introduced import restrictions on nonessential items in hopes of dealing with the dwindling foreign exchange.

Now that the government is easing the policy, it isn’t clear whether Sri Lanka’s farmers will get their needed fertilizer in time. The Maha planting season runs from September to March.

Genius.

Well done.


Did I say "educated population" I mean how dumb do you have to be to ban fertiliser :roll:



Murihiku
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12 Jul 2022, 7:05 pm

The government banned chemical fertiliser, not just for environmental reasons but in order to reduce spending on importing them too. However, the ban was implemented too swiftly, it was badly timed with growing seasons, and there wasn't much support given to farmers. Agricultural output then plummeted, along with Sri Lanka's ability to earn more money through exports.

This was on top of existing economic pressures, such as a large trade deficit, ill-advised tax cuts that reduced government earnings, and excessive borrowing for infrastructure projects with no significant returns on investment. Externally, the pandemic also ground their tourism industry to a halt, and the war in Ukraine plus Western sanctions drove up global prices on commodities that Sri Lanka needed.

All of this depleted government revenue and foreign currency reserves, and eventually they became unable to afford vital imports of food and resources, leading to their current economic and political predicament. Whoever ends up in government, it'll probably take them years to bring their country of the current crisis.


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It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


Murihiku
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12 Jul 2022, 7:19 pm

In other news, President Rajapaksa has fled the country in a military jet and is presently in the Maldives:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62132271

Quote:
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the country on a military jet, amid mass protests over its economic crisis.

The 73-year-old arrived in the capital of the Maldives, Male, at around 03:00 local time (22:00 GMT), the BBC understands.

Mr Rajapaksa's departure ends a family dynasty that has ruled Sri Lanka for decades.

He had been in hiding after crowds stormed his residence on Saturday.

The president had earlier pledged to resign on Wednesday 13 July.

His brother, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, has also left the country, sources have told the BBC. He is said to be heading to the US.

As news of the president's departure filtered through, noisy celebrations broke out among demonstrators at Galle Face Green, the main protest site in the capital city, Colombo.

On Tuesday evening there were already thousands of people massing at the park, awaiting the president's resignation.

Sri Lankans blame President Rajapaksa's administration for their worst economic crisis in decades.

For months they have been struggling with daily power cuts and shortages of basics like fuel, food and medicines.

The leader, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new administration.


_________________
It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


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13 Jul 2022, 2:34 am

Murihiku wrote:
The government banned chemical fertiliser, not just for environmental reasons but in order to reduce spending on importing them too. However, the ban was implemented too swiftly, it was badly timed with growing seasons, and there wasn't much support given to farmers. Agricultural output then plummeted, along with Sri Lanka's ability to earn more money through exports..


The minister responsible for banning fertiliser erroneously (and irresponsibly) assumed that the farmers would be able to adopt organic techniques at barely short notice. The resulting food shortage should mean he is charged with crimes against humanity for every person impacted.



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13 Jul 2022, 2:37 am

Murihiku wrote:
In other news, President Rajapaksa has fled the country in a military jet and is presently in the Maldives:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62132271
Quote:
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the country on a military jet, amid mass protests over its economic crisis.

The 73-year-old arrived in the capital of the Maldives, Male, at around 03:00 local time (22:00 GMT), the BBC understands.

Mr Rajapaksa's departure ends a family dynasty that has ruled Sri Lanka for decades.

He had been in hiding after crowds stormed his residence on Saturday.

The president had earlier pledged to resign on Wednesday 13 July.

His brother, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, has also left the country, sources have told the BBC. He is said to be heading to the US.

As news of the president's departure filtered through, noisy celebrations broke out among demonstrators at Galle Face Green, the main protest site in the capital city, Colombo.

On Tuesday evening there were already thousands of people massing at the park, awaiting the president's resignation.

Sri Lankans blame President Rajapaksa's administration for their worst economic crisis in decades.

For months they have been struggling with daily power cuts and shortages of basics like fuel, food and medicines.

The leader, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new administration.


The leader, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new administration.

What an opportunistic coward :roll:



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13 Jul 2022, 2:38 am

cyberdad wrote:
Murihiku wrote:
The government banned chemical fertiliser, not just for environmental reasons but in order to reduce spending on importing them too. However, the ban was implemented too swiftly, it was badly timed with growing seasons, and there wasn't much support given to farmers. Agricultural output then plummeted, along with Sri Lanka's ability to earn more money through exports..


The minister responsible for banning fertiliser erroneously (and irresponsibly) assumed that the farmers would be able to adopt organic techniques at barely short notice. The resulting food shortage should mean he is charged with crimes against humanity for every person impacted.

North Koreans will mourn this decision. Give up what they are begging for so easily.
I mean, if the North Koreans can get the news in time.


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Murihiku
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13 Jul 2022, 4:43 am

cyberdad wrote:
The leader, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new administration.

What an opportunistic coward :roll:

Perhaps Rajapaksa can be extradited back to Sri Lanka at a later date, assuming a strong criminal case can be built against him.


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It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air –
There's the rub, the task.


– Virgil, The Aeneid (Book VI)


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13 Jul 2022, 1:00 pm

I guess it's a good thing one of my godsons and his dad cancelled their trip to Sri Lanka then.. they were to go this summer to visit his father's side of the family. I haven't followed any news at all about Sri Lanka, so just took his word for it that things were bad over there rn and so it wasn't safe to vacation there. Looks to be accurate.


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