President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has announced he will resign Wednesday, per the parliamentary speaker.
Rajapaksa’s resignation was met with fireworks displays in the country’s capital of Colombo after protesters stormed the presidential residence and also set fire to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s home Saturday. Neither Rajapaksa nor Wickremesinghe was at home during the time of the attacks.
“The decision to step down on 13 July was taken to ensure a peaceful handover of power,” Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said. “I therefore request the public to respect the law and maintain peace.”
SRI LANKAN PM RANIL WICKREMESINGHE AGREES TO QUIT AMID BIGGEST POLITICAL TURMOIL
Wickremesinghe announced earlier Saturday that he also planned to resign, but only when all the parties had agreed to a new government. Rajapaksa also shared his hope that this resignation would allow a smooth transition for an all-party government in a statement.
Since the organized protest began on Friday, 39 people, including two officers, have been hospitalized for their injuries.
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Protesters have demanded a change in government as the country, with a population of 22 million, reached inflation levels of more than 54% with no signs of stopping. Sri Lanka already suspended the repayment of its foreign debts in April, of which it has $51 billion. Schools have closed in light of the national gas shortage, with gas stations now guarded by the militia as 15 people have died of heatstroke waiting for gas.