New Delhi: Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers resigned with immediate effect late on Sunday night, as the country experienced its worst economic crisis of all time.
Sri Lanka’s Education Minister and Leader of the House, Dinesh Gunawardena said the cabinet ministers handed over their resignations to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Gunawardena did not cite any primary reason for the decision of the cabinet ministers to resign from their posts.
However, political analysts said all the 26 ministers of the Sri Lanka cabinet resigned after they came under intense pressure from the public over the government’s alleged “mishandling” of the economic crisis, triggered by the shortage in the foreign exchange reserve.
Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, tweeted after resigning as the Youth and Sports Minister: “I have informed the sec. to the President of my resignation from all portfolios with immediate effect, in hope that it may assist HE & PMs decision to establish stability for the people & the govt of #LKA. I remain committed to my voters, my party & the people of #Hambanthota (SIC).”
I have informed the sec. to the President of my resignation from all portfolios with immediate effect, in hope that it may assist HE & PMs decision to establish stability for the people & the govt of #LKA. I remain committed to my voters, my party & the people of #Hambanthota.
— Namal Rajapaksa (@RajapaksaNamal) April 3, 2022
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. With long lines for fuel, cooking gas, essentials in short supply and long hours of power cuts the public has been suffering for weeks.
Crisis in Sri Lanka – Top Developments
1.Wide spread public protests were seen throughout the evening in spite of the imposition of curfew which ends today (April 4). The enraged public had demanded Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, holding him responsible for the island nation’s worst economic crisis and shortages of food, fuel and medicines.
2.The government declared a state of emergency after an angry mob surrounded the private residence of Rajapaksa on March 31. Rajapaksa has defended his government’s actions, saying the foreign exchange crisis was not his making and the economic downturn was largely pandemic driven where the island’s tourism revenue and inward remittances waning.
3.A planned social media triggered mass protest was scheduled for Sunday. However, the government responded by imposing a 36-hour curfew. Since evening, rumours have been floating to the effect that Rajapaksa may opt for an interim government to handle the economic crisis.
4.Sri Lankan police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of university students during a protest in the central province. The protest was held despite the curfew. The government’s poor handling of the economic crisis where people currently endure long hours of power outages and scarcity of essentials has angered the public which planned country-wide protests on Sunday.
5.The government ordered internet service providers to restrict social media access, tightening curbs to prevent planned demonstrations calling for President Rajapaksa’s ouster over soaring living costs and a foreign exchange crisis. The social media curbs were lifted in the second half of Sunday.
6.Defying curfew orders, lawmakers from Sri Lanka’s principal opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya staged an anti-government protest in Colombo against President Rajapaksa’s move to impose a state of emergency and other restrictions. The Opposition lawmakers marched towards Colombo’s Independence Square, chanting slogans and carrying placards that read: Stop Suppression and Gota go home.”
7.Police officials set up barricades leading up to the Independence Square, which was built to commemorate Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948. In Central Province, hundreds of students from the University of Peradeniya took to streets to protest against the present state of affairs in the country. However, police installed barricades close to the university.
8.University Students accompanied by their lecturers proceeded towards the Galaha Junction, and tensions boiled over when they attempted to remove the barricades set up by the police, News 1st channel reported. Police and riot police used water cannons to disperse the crowd and thereafter fired tear gas, it said, adding that the situation is tense in the region.
9.In Western Province, a total of 664 people were arrested for violating the curfew and trying to stage an anti-government rally. Opposition lawmakers, led by their leader Sajith Premadasa, had set off on a march towards the iconic Independence Square in Colombo, defying a weekend curfew imposed by the government on Saturday, ahead of the planned protest for Sunday.
10.Later, the government lifted the ban it had imposed on social media platforms after declaring a nationwide public emergency. The services of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TokTok, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger were restored after 15 hours, according to an official.