Protestors in Sri Lanka storm president's residence and office
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
As the country experiences one of the worst economic and financial crises in decades, protestors in Sri Lanka stormed into the president's residence and office, international media reported on Saturday. The protesters blame President Gotabya Rajapaksa for the economic woes and had occupied the entrance to his office building for the past three months amid calls for his resignation.
Thousands of others, reported AP, demonstrated in the capital as public anger has been mounting against the country's economic meltdown.
It was not clear if Rajapaksa was inside the residence in Colombo. A government spokesman, Mohana Samaranayake, said he had no information about whether Rajapaksa had left the residence.
Television footage shows hundreds of protesters also entered the president’s office in another nearby building.
Protesters blame Rajapaksa for the various crises plaguing the nation and had occupied the entrance to his office building for the past three months calling on him to step down.
Cardinal Ranjith's warnings
Earlier this week, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo reiterated calls for the Sri Lankan president's resignation.
At a press conference held on Tuesday in the prelate’s residence, the Cardinal suggested that the Rajapaksa family has lost public credibility and noting that attempts to prove otherwise would fail.
“On behalf of the suffering people,” he said, "I strongly ask the President and the Government of Sri Lanka to take responsibility for the sad situation and resign from their positions, since they no longer have the moral right to remain in office.”
The leader of the Church in Sri Lanka called for the immediate formation of an interim government leading to general elections to overcome the ongoing economic and financial crisis in the country.
Pope appeals for ensuring rights and liberties in Sri Lanka
During Pope Francis’ Wednesday General Audience on 11 May, the Pope turned his thoughts to the crisis-hit South Asian nation.
The Pope sent his greeting especially to the “young people who in recent times have made their cry heard in the face of the country's social and economic challenges and problems.”
“I join religious authorities," he said, "in urging all parties to maintain a peaceful attitude, without yielding to violence.”
Pope Francis also called on Sri Lanka’s ruling political leaders to heed the voices of protesters.
“I appeal to all those with responsibilities," he said, "to listen to the aspirations of the people and to ensure full respect for human rights and civil liberties.”