Sri Lanka President Vows To Step Down As Protesters Occupy His Palace

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In the face of massive public protests triggered by the dire economic crisis in Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has vowed that he will resign this week.

The president’s much-anticipated resignation follows mass protests on Saturday when hundreds of thousands of people descended on Colombo and overran the president’s house and office demanding he step down immediately.

Now the protestors are planning to stay put until Rajapaksa actaully leaves, saying they “don’t believe it and won’t believe it until they see it in action”.

The whereabouts of the president remains unknown. He has not been seen since Friday, when he was removed from his house and placed under military protection.

Sky news reports: Protesters have also stormed the home of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, demonstrating against an economic catastrophe that has left many struggling to afford two meals a day.

Both men have said they will step down.

Mr Rajapaksa is due to depart on Wednesday, according to the parliamentary speaker, but there has been no direct word from him.

However, Mr Rajapaksa has confirmed to Mr Wickremesinghe that he will be resigning, the prime minister’s office said on Monday.

But many people “don’t believe it and won’t believe it until they see it in action”, said Sky News correspondent Nicole Johnston, who has been talking to protesters at the president’s home.

“Until that happens they’re going to continue to occupy the president’s house as well as a number of key buildings around the city,” Johnston added.

Many have taken their children with them as they survey the opulence. Schools have been closed for the last couple of weeks because there isn’t enough electricity to run them.

The country has “burned through all its foreign currency (and) doesn’t have enough money for food, fuel, or medicine,” Johnston added.

Consequently, it has been begging for money from the International Monetary Fund, Japan, Russia, China and Qatar.

Niamh Harris
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