On Thursday, July 14, the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament said that the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would be officially announced once legal formalities are concluded. The president fled the country on Wednesday to Maldives before heading to Singapore. He also appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Acting President, leading to massive protests. The protests were attacked by police who fired tear gas on protestors marching towards the Parliament building. Ambulances and journalists too were attacked.
On Thursday, protesters also evacuated the offices of the President and Prime Minister but pledged to continue their protests till their demands were met.
Tension had prevailed in the island on Wednesday as public anger rose as the unpopular Wickremesinghe took on his new job.
Large crowd gathered at Diyatha, near the entrance to the parliament. The situation is a little tense. Teargas is fired at regular intervals. Here, an injured protestor is carried to the hospital.#SriLanka #SriLankaProtests pic.twitter.com/PJcpjcL8cN
— Marlon Ariyasinghe (@exfrotezter) July 13, 2022
The Prime Minister’s Media Division said on Wednesday that, “Acting President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to nominate a new Prime Minister who is acceptable to both the government and opposition.”
Sri Lankan police fired several rounds of teargas and water cannon, and even fired bullets into the air to disperse protestors marching to the Prime Minister’s office, injuring at least 30 people, according to the media outlet Newswire. The protestors rejected the appointment of Wickremesinghe and demanded his immediate resignation.
Sri Lankan protesters engaged in a singing session, singing the famous song ‘Me Rata Mage Rata’ (මේ රට මගේ රට) after breaching the Prime Minister’s Office in Colombo today.
— NewsWire 🇱🇰 (@NewsWireLK) July 13, 2022
— Skandha Gunasekara🇱🇰 (@Skandha92) July 13, 2022
The PM's office being stormed, on Flower Road. pic.twitter.com/ugkgfuLFk5
— Andrew Fidel Fernando (@afidelf) July 13, 2022
— Sri Lanka Tweet 🇱🇰 💉 (@SriLankaTweet) July 13, 2022
In Male, the capital of Maldives, where Rajapaksa was reportedly taking refuge until his “transit” to Singapore, protests took place on Wednesday against the country’s government for allowing the presence of the runaway leader on the island.
Just in | #SriLanka’s President #GotabayaRajapaksa, who was in Maldives since Wednesday morning, after fleeing Sri Lanka amid an unprecedented citizens’ protest, boarded a flight to Singapore at 11.39 Male time, a top source told The Hindu, reports @Meerasrini
— The Hindu (@the_hindu) July 14, 2022
After taking control of the office as both President and Prime Minister, Wickremesinghe declared an island-wide emergency and appointed a committee of military commanders to enforce the curfew while military helicopters flew dangerously close to the protest location.
— Namini Wijedasa (@nimilamalee) July 13, 2022
Opposition leaders, lawyers, constitutional experts questioned the legality of Wickremesinghe’s appointment to lead the country. Several party leaders have decided to call for the immediate resignation of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe.
PM becomes acting President only if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the CJ in consultation with the Speaker forms the view that the President is unable to act.
— Sajith Premadasa (@sajithpremadasa) July 13, 2022