Colombo — Sri Lanka appeared calm as people waited for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The estranged Sri Lanka’s President flew to the Maldives to escape a widespread revolt that flared as the country labored with its economic crisis.
Rajapaksa’s decision to make his ally Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the acting President triggered further protests.
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This decision brought the protesting demonstrators to storm the parliament and the premier’s office. The protesters are demanding that the Prime Minister quit too.
Rajapaksa has repeatedly assured the parliament speaker that he would step down on Wednesday. Still, as of Thursday, the speaker’s office had not received his resignation, said an aide to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
Sri Lankans wander the halls of the President’s palace as they take in the building’s vast art collection, classic and luxury car collection, and the swimming pool.
Terance Rodrigo said, “The fight is not over.” The 26-year-old student has been inside the compound since protesters took over, along with the prime minister’s official residence.
He added, “We have to make society better than this. The government is not solving people’s problems.”
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Protests against the economic crisis had simmered for months. They came to a head last weekend when hundreds of thousands of people took over government buildings in Colombo, blaming the powerful Rajapaksa family and allies for runaway inflation, shortages of essential goods, and corruption.
Police said one person died, and 84 people were injured in clashes between riot police and protesters near the parliament building and the prime minister’s office.
People demanded the ouster of both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe.