Sri Lanka: Crisis protesters disobey curfew, cabinet resigns

Sri Lankan cabinet ministers have resigned en masse in protest of the government's handling of the  orst economic crisis in decades. (Sri Lanka's cabinet has resigned amid growing anger over the economic downturn)

Only 26 ministers have submitted their resignation letters - not Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa or his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Many protesters, demanding the resignation of the Rajapaksa family, say the move is pointless.

On Sunday, many disobeyed street curfews in several cities. (Lankan President Asks Opposition To Join Government As Protests Mount: 10 Points)

The country is battling the worst economic crisis since independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.

This is due to the lack of foreign exchange, which is used to pay for fuel imports. For half a day or more, public outrage has reached new heights due to power outages and food, medicine and fuel crises.

Education Minister Dinesh Gunavardhan told reporters on Sunday that the cabinet ministers had submitted their resignations to the prime minister. (Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Resigns as Street Protests Pressure Government)

The prime minister's own son, Namal Rajapaksa, was among those who resigned, tweeting that he hoped it would help the president and the prime minister "decide to establish stability for the people and the government".

However, many protesters who complain that the president and his family are responsible for the situation in the country are angry that they will remain in power.

Another called it a "drama from a dictator's playbook."

"We want you all to leave - Rajapaksa, the cabinet, their political allies, the corrupt, their media people. They are all," added another social media user.

The protests marked a huge shift in the popularity of Mr Rajapaksa, who came to power in 2019 with a majority victory, promising stability and a "strong hand" to govern the country.

Sri Lanka: Crisis protesters disobey curfew, cabinet resigns

On Sunday, I met opposition leader Sajith Premadasa in another immediate protest, where he and other members of his party were stopped at a police barricade as they tried to enter the city's Independence Square. ( President applies emergency powers causing opposition to protest)

"The supreme law of the land protects the right of the people to share their views, to express their views and to engage in peaceful democratic activities, so that those rights cannot be violated," he said.

I also met a lot of people who came out and protested against the curfew.

Outside the Asian restaurant, Suchitra was among dozens of protesters who usually gathered on busy streets. (What is the situation in Sri Lanka?)

When she picked up her 15-month-old baby, who shares her name, Suchitra told me about the daily problems caused by the power outage.

"Our fan doesn't run without electricity. It's impossible for a baby or us to sleep in this heat."

"I came out today because my rights have been taken away, and I am very angry," said Anjali Wandurgala, one of the hundreds of students who had gathered in one part of Colombo. (Sri Lanka economic crisis: Central Bank Governor resigns, Prez invites parties to accept cabinet posts)

"Why did they impose this curfew? Is it to protect us?" Asked. "It doesn't make sense at all."

Sathsara, a copywriter for a freelance ad, said it was the first time he had protested.

"I'm freelance, but I can't make money because I don't have gas or electricity. I'm totally broke," he says.(Sri Lanka seeks unity government to tackle economic crisis amid mass resignations, protests)

He is one of the many young Sri Lankans struggling to find a way out of this crisis.

"We are at a critical juncture in our lives. How are we going to achieve this?"

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