Sri Lanka: President calls protests pointless, says he has 'no home to go to'

Wickremesinghe highlighted that the unrest had delayed a possible deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)



Photo: AP
Photo: AP

By ANI

Published: Mon 1 Aug 2022, 6:58 AM

On Sunday, referring to the threats received from the protestors, Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there was no point in demanding that he "goes home", as he had "no home to go to".

Speaking in Kandy, a city in Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe said that some people had threatened to stage protests, demanding that he goes home, Colombo Gazette reported.

Wickremesinghe said that demanding him to go home is just a waste of time— instead, he felt that the protesters ought to try and rebuild his burnt house.

"No point telling a man who has no home, to go home," he reiterated, adding that only after his house was rebuilt could protesters demand that he go home.

He continued to say that the protesters should rebuild either the house or the country, the Colombo Gazette reported. He added that there was also no point in blaming the former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the economic crisis.

The President highlighted that the unrest had delayed a possible deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help pull the bankrupt nation out of its economic crisis, and urged political parties to work together on finding permanent solutions to the issues faced by Sri Lanka.

"The negotiations stalled due to instability in the island nation over the past few weeks as agitators stormed the nation amid extreme fuel and food shortages," he said.

Other countries are not willing to offer financial assistance to the island nation until a deal is reached with the IMF. Sri Lanka needs to find ways to repay its loans as the IMF will not fully resolve the issues faced by the country.

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Notably, on July 9, Sri Lankan protesters broke into then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's private residence and set it on fire, angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.

Just a few hours prior to that, with the demand for the then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation, they stormed into the compound, tore down security cordons placed by police, took a dip in the swimming pool and romped through his kitchen and home.

Several journalists were also attacked by the security forces after which more protestors gathered in the area, reported the Daily Mirror.

Earlier, the police fired tear gas at the protesters, but despite that, they entered his house and set it on fire.

Following this, Wickremesinghe, who was appointed as Prime Minister in May, announced his resignation from his post in order to ensure the continuation of the government and the safety of all the citizens.

On July 21, following the Rajapaksa's resignation, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka in Parliament before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. He was elected as president in an election held in Parliament on July 20.

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of Covid-19, threatening to undo years of development progress, and severely undermining the country's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The protests came after the worsening economic situation in the country led to increasing tensions and reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public queued for hours (and sometimes days) amid the fuel shortage.


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