US Embassy in Sri Lanka Cancels All Consular Services Amid Fresh Protests

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Colombo, July 13: US Embassy in Sri Lanka on Wednesday cancelled its all consular services for today and tomorrow amid fresh protests. “Out of an abundance of caution, Consular is canceling our Wednesday afternoon services (American citizen services and NIV passback) as well as all consular services on Thursday. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reschedule all cancelled appointments,” tweeted US Embassy in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, some of the protestors have stormed inside the premises of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister’s office in Colombo. Security personnel resorted to tear-gas shelling to drive away protestors on the streets of Colombo. Amid reports that embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the interim President of Sri Lanka, thousands of protestors took to the street.

Wickremesinghe today declared an emergency and imposed a curfew in the western province of the country as protests intensified following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s escape to the Maldives. A state of emergency was declared as protesters came prepared to face tear gas shelling by security forces deployed outside Wickremesinghe’s residence. Air patrolling also began around the PM’s residence.

The country’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said that the PM cannot exercise the powers of the President, and cannot declare a curfew or a state of emergency. Sri Lanka Economic Crisis: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Appointed Acting President As Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flees to Maldives.

“PM becomes acting President only if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the CJ in consultation with the Speaker forms the view that the President is unable to act,” Premadasa tweeted. “In the absence of any of these, the PM cannot exercise the powers of President, and cannot declare curfew or a state of emergency,” he said in another tweet.

Sri Lankan authorities today confirmed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had flown to the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards after full approval of the country’s Defence Ministry.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Gotabaya had landed at the Velana International Airport in Male on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane. 73-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa had gone into hiding after crowds of protestors stormed his residence on July 9 and he had announced that he will resign on July 13. The country is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst economic crisis with soaring inflation.

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