September 23, 2023

Embattled Sri Lanka PM appeals for ‘patience’ from protesters

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa urged for “patience” Monday as thousands continued to take to the streets to protest his family’s rule, with public anger at a fever pitch over the country’s crippling economic crisis.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million residents have seen weeks of power blackouts and severe shortages of food, fuel, and even life-saving medicine in the country’s worst downturn since independence in 1948.

Protesters have rallied daily since Saturday against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa — Mahinda’s younger brother — in Colombo and across the island nation, chanting “Gota go home” and calling for his government’s removal.

In his first address since the crisis, Mahinda — the patriarch of the powerful Rajapaksa family omnipresent in Sri Lanka’s politics for two decades — said he needed more time to pull the nation out of the deep end.

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