ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government politicians who have been asked to resign are under fire from frustrated protesters on social media after close allies of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa added the national flag on their Facebook profile frame.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has now turned into a political crisis after a March 31 protest turned violent near President Rajapaksa’s private residence followed by people defying his curfew order despite State of Emergency and social media ban.
In solidarity with protests against the government for its economic mismanagement, thousands of Sri Lankans added a Facebook frame to their profile picture with the national flag.
On April 6, a sleuth of government ministers including the President and the Prime Ministers have added the frame to their Facebook profiles too.
This frame has also been a significant association with the protest slogan #GoHomeGota, a slogan made popular on social media platforms before the protests grew on a mass scale on March 31.
Protests have spread across the country and political analysts say the agitations are intensifying.
Sri Lankan Facebook users responded negatively to Rajapaksa and his close allies’ move to include the national frame.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most popular leader Sri Lanka has ever had, got over 15,000 laugh reactions and 7,700 angry reactions to his picture with many commenting “Rest in Peace”.
His son Namal Rajapaksa, the country’s Sports, Youth and Digital technology minister was cursed for ruining and looting the country.
A comment from Raveesha Sathsarani said, “This is our national flag!!!. Don’t steal even it and save it for us. They have taken people’s pain and hard work as a joke. �� ��
#gohomerajapaksas #GotaGoHome2022 #GoHomeGota #SaveSriLanka.”
Dishan Rajarathnam in his comment said “We are fighting against the most corrupted family in SriLanka ������”
Manomi Jayawardena: “ජාතික කොඩියවත් ඉතුරු කලොත් නේද හොද….(Wouldn’t it be better to leave at least the national flag….)
Kasun Bandara Weerakoon: “Go when you are told to go…. And there are more… I’m done with you people….. There is no point in trying again……. The few who took advantage are struggling… But the majority of the country doesn’t like you….. Go away without any more sins…… It’s hard to live….. This is more than enough…… Don’s destroy our future any more…….”
(යන්ට කිව්වම පලයංකෝ….තවත් ඉන්නෙ…උබල මිනිසුන්ට එපාවෙලා ඉවරයි…..ආයෙ
දැගලුවට වැඩක් නෑ…….වාසිගත්ත ටික දෙනෙක් දගලයි…ඒත් උබලට රටේ බහුතරයක් කැමති
නෑ…..තවත් පවුනොදී පලයං……ජීවත් වෙන්න අමාරුයි…..මේ ඇති හොදටම……අපෙ අනාගතේ
තවත් විනාස කරන්න එපා……)
Keheliya Rambukewella, the former cabinet spokesperson too was flooded with similar comments. One commentator on Rambukwella’s profile said the people’s struggle has become a joke to them.
Ranjika Damayanthi, “මුන්ට විහිළුවක් වෙලා මිනිස්සු දුක් විදින එක ����������”
Although the country’s President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too used the frame, he has restricted the comments on his profile yet over 33,000 had laugh reacted to the picture with 15,000 “angry” reactions.
In the ongoing protests in the past seven days, the President has been called a Pissek (mad man), a murderer and a gobbayā (a local slang for a useless person). (Colomb0/April 08/2022)