It comes after embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Sri Lanka’s interim president.
Representative image. ANI
Colombo: Sri Lanka’s national broadcaster SLRC, known as Jathika Rupavahini, suspended live broadcasting on Wednesday as protesters surrounded its premises.
“Until the struggle is over, the Sri Lankan cooperation Rupavahini will only broadcast programs from the Jana Aragalaya,” a protester said during a live broadcast. The national television channel is now off the air. pic.twitter.com/jsIcdnEyUq
— NewsWire 🇱🇰 (@NewsWireLK) July 13, 2022
The state-owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has suspended its live broadcasts.
It comes as reports emerged that embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the interim President of Sri Lanka.
A state of emergency was declared as protesters prepared to face tear gas fire from security forces outside Wickremesinghe’s residence. Aerial patrols have also started around the prime minister’s residence.
Wickremesinghe today declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in the country’s Western Province as protests escalated after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives.
Sri Lankan opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has said the prime minister cannot exercise the powers of the president and cannot declare a curfew or a state of emergency.
“The Prime Minister shall only become Acting President if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the Chief Justice, in consultation with the President, deems the President unable to act,” Premadasa tweeted.
“In the absence of all of this, the Prime Minister cannot exercise the powers of the President and cannot declare a curfew or a state of emergency,” he said in another tweet.
Soldiers used tear gas canisters to disperse protesters who scaled the wall to enter the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s residence in Colombo.
Sri Lankan authorities today confirmed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa flew to the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards after full clearance from the country’s Defense Ministry. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Gotabaya had landed at Velana International Airport in Male on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane.
The crisis-hit island nation’s parliament speaker, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, said he had yet to receive a letter of resignation from Gotabaya. “We haven’t received President Gotabaya’s resignation yet, but we hope to get one within a day,” Abeywardena said. ANI.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, had gone into hiding after crowds of protesters stormed his residence on July 9 and he announced he would step down on July 13.
The country is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the grip of its worst economic crisis with rampant inflation.
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