Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was chased from his residence. Later, Speaker of the House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced his resignation on Wednesday (July 13), causing the US to urge Sri Lankan officials to take quick action to find long-term solutions. Rajapaksa’s decision follows the largest demonstration to ever sweep Sri Lanka, in which tens of thousands of protesters attacked Rajapaksa’s house and office to vent their rage against a person responsible for the country’s worst crisis.
According to AFP, the United States denounced violence on Saturday (July 10) when a crowd stormed the president’s residence and issued threats to media and protestors. As the president prepares to leave down, a State Department official stated, ‘The Sri Lankan parliament should approach this moment with a dedication to the welfare of the nation — not any one political party. We urge this government, or any new, constitutionally elected government, to work quickly to identify and implement solutions that will achieve long-term economic stability and address the Sri Lankan people’s discontent with worsening economic conditions, including power, food, and fuel shortages’.
The spokesman noted that the Sri Lankan people have the right to peacefully express themselves, but has instructed officers to arrest anybody involved in any protest-related incidents. Both the United States and China have vowed aid in recent weeks as the historically wealthy South Asian island struggles to pay basic essentials such as fuel and food.
Despite Rajapaksa’s rejection of war crime claims in the harsh finish of the island’s protracted civil war and his close economic links to China, the president has had a rocky relationship with the US. Following a tumultuous day, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed hope for a resolution to Sri Lanka’s political instability, allowing the continuation of discussions for a bailout package after a violent day of protests.