Sri Lankan PM calls for end to protests: ‘Every minute spent on the streets costs us money’

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In the middle of the rise anti-government protestsSri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the island nation on Monday, assuring the people that his government was “working around the clock” to overcome the economic crisis.

The Prime Minister said his government was working to resolve the issues as much as possible over the next few days and appealed for patience and support.

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Calling on the demonstrators to cease their agitation, Rajapaksa said every minute spent on the streets robs the cash-strapped country of precious dollars.

“The government is spending every second of the day solving this problem. My family is slandered, we can tolerate it,” Mahinda said. Stating that the protesters were demanding to send all 225 parliamentarians home, he said: “It will be dangerous to throw out parliament.”

Rajapaksa’s speech comes at a time when the nation is rocked by massive anti-government protests during weeks of long power outages and shortages of gas, food and other essentials.

In a major announcement, the Prime Minister said he would reinstate the fertilizer subsidy for farmers across the country. In May last year, the government imposed a ban on chemical fertilisers, but partially lifted it after widespread criticism in November.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the older brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, criticizing the Rajapaksa familyasking them to resign, and that all family members be arrested.

Meanwhile, efforts to establish a multi-party caretaker government in Sri Lanka have remained unsuccessful as talks between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the group of independents from his own ruling SLPP coalition have failed to deliver progress on the question.

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