After another night of quiet occupation of the presidential palace by the population, despite the rumors of the army intervention, on Monday 11 July the Sri Lankans were still holding their breath. Their country, where shortages make life impossible, fell into the unknown on Saturday when protesters stormed the symbols of power in Colombo. However, while President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, now on the run, later announced that he would step down four days later and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinga offered to do the same, neither has officially stepped down yet.

Mr. Rajapaksa took refuge in an unknown location after being forced to flee his residence in Colombo, the capital, which was overrun by crowds on Saturday. Since then, the Sri Lankan strongman has not spoken and has announced his intention to leave power through the voice of the Speaker of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, then from the Prime Minister’s office on Monday.

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After more than three months of protest, the news of these resignations already smells of victory, despite the doubts that remain. “I am very proud of what the people of Sri Lanka have achieved, we are overthrowing the government, but it is not time for celebration yet”, warns Hiranya Cooray, a thirty-year-old from Colombo, reached by telephone. Due to the shortage of fuel that hit the island, she walked 10 kilometers on Saturday to take part in the protest in the capital.

Sri Lanka is experiencing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, attributed to the Rajapaksa clan, which has dominated political life for nearly two decades. Pushed to the limit by months of deprivation, tens of thousands of Sri Lankans flocked to Colombo on Saturday to take part in a decisive day of mobilization. They arrived by bus, train, bicycle or even on foot, determined to go to the capital to ask, as they have been doing since the end of March, for the resignation of the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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At noon the demonstrators broke through the police barricades and broke into the building, then into the office of the president and the official residence of the prime minister. The Head of State had to flee and was put in a safe place, under the protection of the army. His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa suffered a similar fate in May after his resignation as prime minister. When elected in November 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa blocked power, installing his clan in control of the country. He is the only one still in charge.

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