GotaGoGama protest marks 100 days

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The GoHomeGota protest reached its 100th day, yesterday (17), and continues while diverting its focus now on Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the country’s economic crisis continues.

After the suppression of the public unrest during the anti-Government protest at Mirihana on 31 March and the planned curfew and lockdowns that were imposed on the 3 April targeting the island-wide protest that was organised by public, the public themselves organised another protest march to Colombo on 9 April which was planned as a 24-hour march. This later developed to a continuing protest having forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flee his official presidential residence shortly before demonstrators invaded it on 9 July and to give up his presidency on 15 July. The protesters invaded the Prime Minister’s official residence, Temple trees and the Presidential Secretariat as well.

An active protester who has been in the Aragalaya since the Mirihana incident noted that they had no plans to continue it for days and the very first night at GotaGoGama- Galle Face it was even hard to get a tent for 30 protesters to spend the night.

Then, later united by economic hardships the GotaGoGama peaceful protest gained further support from the campaign to oust Rajapaksa, organised mainly through posts on social media and drew people from across the country. Rajapaksa’s mismanagement is blamed for Sri Lanka’s financial turmoil, which has forced its 22 million people to suffer shortages of food, fuel and medicines since late 2021. 

Later an anti-protester group’s violent attacks and sabotage of the GotaGoGama Aragalaya on 9 May drew further attention towards the protest which drew further support towards the anti-government protest, helping to rebuild the ruined agitation site and adding further creative aspects towards the protest.  As a result of the 9 May incident, then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had to resign from his Premiership putting an end to the political dynasty of the Rajapaksa’s as well.

On the 97th day of the Aragalaya, the protesters officially handed over the State properties occupied by them, except the Presidential Secretariat as sign of continuation of the Aragalaya, till the 9th executive president is elected.

By Nabiya Vaffoor