Resignation for Sri Lankan officials amidst protest

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COLOMBO, 4 April: In a bid to deescalate the ongoing protest in Sri Lanka, cabinet ministers within the country’s parliament have resigned from their positions on Sunday.

Citing a Bernama report, government officials have confirmed that all 26 cabinet ministers have sent in their resignation letters to pave way for the reformation of a new cabinet after a meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the state ministers will, however, continue to work in their capacities, officials said.

Three other members of the powerful Rajapaksa family were among those who quit amid mounting public anger against the acute shortages of food, fuel and medicines plaguing the South Asian nation of 22 million.

The move came after thousands of people defied a weekend curfew Sunday to protest across the island demanding the ouster of the Rajapaksa family along with members of its parliament and the resolution of the power crisis.

For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, food and medicines, most of which come from abroad and are paid for in hard currency. The first to disappear from shops was milk powder and cooking gas, followed by a fuel shortage disrupting transport and causing rolling power cuts lasting several hours a day at the end of February.

Rajapaksa last month said his government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund and turned to China and India for loans while he appealed to people to limit the use of fuel and electricity and “extend their support to the country.”

As protests grew and calls increased for him to step down, President Rajapaksa doubled down and at midnight on Friday assumed emergency powers by decree.

A nationwide emergency and a media lockdown were set to mediate protesters but it was later belittled with thousands gathering outside the walls of homes owned by cabinet ministers. -TVS-

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