Sri Lankans persist in demanding president to resign

STORY: Demonstrations have raged across Sri Lanka for weeks as people angered by prolonged power cuts and shortages of fuel and medicine demand the president's resignation.

On Saturday, the numbers had surged to tens of thousands with deafening roars of anti-Rajapaksa slogans mingling with singing and dancing to tunes mocking the incumbent president at the protest site in Colombo located near Rajapaksa's office, which has been named "Gota-Go Village" by some.

The island nation is in the throes of its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948, with a foreign currency shortage stalling imports of fuel and medicines and bringing hours of power cuts every day.

Aaron, a 21-year-old engineer, was among the protesters and said they were prepared to continue with the protests till the ruling government resigns and remits office.

"Actually this is the seventh day of the protests, I think we will not stop this fight until the government

gives us a resolution, a solution," he said.

The president's elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, currently serves as prime minister. Their younger brother, Basil Rajapaksa, was finance minister until earlier this month. Other members of the family also held government positions.

Earlier this week, Sri Lanka said it would suspend repayment of external debts ahead of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan program, instead using its meagre foreign reserves to provide essentials to its 22 million people.

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