Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka storm the official residence of the president
Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka storm the president’s official residence after breaking through police barricades in an anti-government march as the country battles economic crisis
- Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka stormed the presidential palace
- Public anger has been directed at President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
- Police fired tear gas and bullets into the air, but an angry mob overtook them
- The country is experiencing a severe shortage of fuel, food and medicine
Sri Lanka is rocked by crisis as thousands of protesters storm the president’s house in the capital Colombo amid public anger over the government’s handling of an economic crisis.
A planned rally, one of the biggest anti-government marches in the crisis-hit country this year, turned violent as thousands of protesters stormed the presidential compound of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, stormed into the president’s residence, video footage from local television station NewsFirst showed.
Two Defense Ministry sources said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was evicted from official premises on Friday for his safety ahead of the rally scheduled for the weekend.
The island of 22 million people is struggling with a severe shortage of foreign exchange which has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging it into the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
Many blame the country’s decline on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Largely peaceful protests since March have demanded his resignation.
Thousands of people swarmed Colombo’s government district, shouting slogans against the president and dismantling several police barricades to reach Rajapaksa’s house, a Reuters witness said.
Police fired shots into the air but were unable to stop the angry mob from surrounding the presidential residence, the witness said.
Angry protesters gather inside the grounds of Sri Lanka’s presidential palace in Colombo
Protesters stormed the palace and marched through the hallways chanting against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and even taking a dip in his pool
Police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka today
Protesters try to disperse and flee as a tear gas canister fired by police lands beside them
Protesters react to a tear gas canister, with one donning a gas mask and another preparing a blanket to suffocate him with
A protester throws a tear gas canister towards members of the police as police use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters
Police and security forces react to a tear gas canister that landed near them
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today called an emergency meeting of political party leaders in response.
Despite a severe fuel shortage that has brought transportation services to a standstill, protesters piled into buses, trains and trucks from several parts of the country to reach Colombo to protest the government’s failure to protect them from ruin. economic.
Discontent has deepened in recent weeks as the cash-strapped country has stopped receiving fuel deliveries, forcing school closures and the rationing of petrol and diesel for essential services.
Sampath Perera, a 37-year-old fisherman, took a crowded bus from the seaside town of Negombo, 45 km (30 miles) north of Colombo, to join the protest.
“We have repeatedly told Gota to go home, but he still clings to power. We won’t stop until he listens to us,” Perera said.
He is one of millions squeezed by chronic fuel shortages and inflation that hit 54.6% in June.
Political instability could undermine Sri Lanka’s talks with the International Monetary Fund aimed at securing a $3 billion bailout, restructuring of some external debt and fundraising from multilateral and bilateral sources to mitigate dollar drought.