Update 2: PKR continues to fall, at 1.59 pasia

July 13, 2022: Sri Lanka is mired in a deep political and economic crisis, and on Wednesday the country’s president flew out of the country, days after a huge crowd of protesters stormed his home.

The island nation of 22 million has faced months of prolonged power outages, acute food and fuel shortages and galloping inflation during its most painful downturn ever.

Months of protests have demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose government has been accused of chronically mismanaging the country’s finances.

Here’s a look back at how the crisis played out:

– April 1 State of Emergency –

Rajapaksa declares a state of emergency, giving security forces sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects, following a wave of protests.

– April 3: Cabinet resigns –

Nearly the entire Sri Lankan cabinet resigns in an overnight meeting, leaving Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda – the prime minister – isolated.

The central bank governor, who had resisted calls for bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), announced his resignation a day later.

– April 5: President loses majority –

President Rajapaksa’s problems are mounting as Finance Minister Ali Sabry resigns a day after his appointment.

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The embattled leader loses his parliamentary majority as former allies urge him to quit. He lifts the state of emergency.

– April 10: drug shortages –

Sri Lanka’s doctors say they are running out of life-saving drugs, warning that the crisis could ultimately kill more people than the coronavirus.

– April 12: Foreign Debt Default –

The government announces it will default on its $51 billion foreign debt as a “last resort” after running out of foreign exchange to import much-needed goods.

– April 19: First victim –

Police kill a protester, the first victim of several weeks of anti-government protests.

The next day, the IMF says it has asked Sri Lanka to restructure its colossal foreign debt before agreeing on a bailout package.

– May 9: Day of Violence –

A mob of government loyalists arriving from the countryside attacks peaceful protesters camped outside the president’s office on the coast in Colombo.

Nine people are killed and hundreds more injured in the retaliatory attacks that followed, with crowds targeting those responsible for the violence and setting fire to lawmakers’ homes.

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns as prime minister and must be rescued by troops after thousands of protesters storm his home in Colombo.

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He will be replaced by Ranil Wickremesinghe, a political veteran who has already served several terms as prime minister.

– May 10: Shoot-to-kill orders –

The Department of Defense orders troops to shoot at sight anyone involved in looting or “inflicting life damage”.

But protesters are defying a new government curfew, which will be rolled back by the end of the week.

The top police officer in Colombo is attacked and his vehicle is set on fire.

– June 10: ‘Humanitarian emergency’ –

The United Nations warns that Sri Lanka is facing a serious humanitarian crisis, with millions of people already in need of assistance.

More than three-quarters of the population had reduced their food intake due to severe food shortages in the country, the UN says.

– June 27: fuel sales suspended –

The government says Sri Lanka is running out of fuel and is halting all petrol sales except for essential services.

– July 1: New inflation record –

The government releases data showing inflation has hit a record high for the ninth straight month, a day after the IMF asked Sri Lanka to rein in prices.

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– July 9: stormed the president’s house –

President Rajapaksa flees his official residence in Colombo with the help of troops, shortly before protesters storm the compound.

He is taken to an unknown location.

Footage from the home shows jubilant protesters jumping into the pool and exploring the stately bedrooms.

Wickremesinghe’s house is set on fire. He and his family were not at the scene, police said.

Rajapaksa later offers to resign on July 13, parliament speaker Mahinda Abeywardana said in a televised statement.

– July 13: President flees country –

President Rajapaksa flies a military plane to the Maldives, accompanied by his wife and two bodyguards.

His departure comes after a humiliating stalemate at the airport in Colombo, where immigration officials did not allow VIP services and insisted that all passengers go through public counters.

The presidential party was hesitant to go through mainstream channels for fear of public reaction, a security official said.

AFP/APP

This post Update 2: PKR continues to fall, at 1.59 pasia

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