Jayasuriya and Ranatunga join Sri Lankan street protests

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s former World Cup captain Arjuna Ranatunga, and fellow ex-skipper Sanath Jayasuriya have joined public protests calling for the president to resign over the country’s economic crisis.

They urged other ex-players to help them oust President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The island nation is suffering from its greatest economic crisis since 1948, with significant shortages of key products and frequent outages.

On Friday, Ranatunga spoke in front of the president’s office in Colombo, surrounded by protesters who had been calling for his resignation since last week.

Our fans are on the streets today because they can no longer bear the hardships. We must be with our fans when they need us most. Sports stars must physically join the protests. “

Hours later, fellow ex-captain Sanath Jayasuriya climbed the barricades in front of Rajapaksa’s colonial-era headquarters.

“Your message is loud and clear,” he told the tens of thousands of protesters. “I hope the authorities will listen and ensure a brighter future for all of us.”

The crowd chants, “Gota go home, go home Gota!”

Former captains are the first to get up in person, but other celebrities have expressed support.

Former captain Mahela Jayawardena has welcomed the protests and urged Rajapaksa to step down, but former captain Kumar Sangakkara has been more reserved.

Former Test player and International Cricket Council match referee Roshan Mahanama compared the country’s condition to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

When I used to go to Zimbabwe many years ago, I saw the economic hardships people suffered there, Mahanama told AFP.

My driver had to stand in a queue for hours to get diesel. I thought this would never happen in my country. But today we are in the same boat.

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