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Watch: Sri Lanka protesters storm presidential palace as economic crisis deepens

Sri Lanka, which is hurtling towards bankruptcy, is facing severe shortages of essentials such as fuel, food and medicines, forcing the people to queue up for the limited stocks.

Protesters, many carrying Sri Lankan flags, gather outside the presidents office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, July 9, 2022. (AP Photo)

With protests against the Sri Lanka government intensifying over the country’s worst economic crisis, a number of demonstrators stormed the President’s official residence and his secretariat in commercial capital Colombo on Saturday.

Video clips of the same went viral on social media showing thousands of protesters marching towards the palatial building. According to news agency Reuters, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was removed from the official residence Friday for his safety ahead of the planned rally over the weekend.

Earlier in the day, thousands of protesters reached the main entrance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence in Colombo Fort area after overturning layers of barricades, news agency Reuters reported. Police fired shots in the air but were unable to stop the angry crowd from surrounding the presidential residence, Reuters said quoting a witness.

At the President’s office, security personnel tried to stop protesters who crossed the fences and stormed the colonial-era building, which has been converted into the President’s office. Video clips of the incident that surfaced on social media showed people shouting slogans against the President as they marched through rooms and corridors of the building. They chanted “Gota go home”, calling the president by his nickname.

Several people milled about on the grounds outside the colonial-era building with no security officials in sight. Among the widely circulated footage on social media websites was one in which protesters are seen taking a dip in the swimming pool inside the president’s home.

The demonstrators who climbed the walls of the President’s mansion are now occupying it without damaging any property or indulging in acts of violence, reported news agency PTI.

At least 30 persons, including two police officers, were injured and hospitalised in the ongoing protests and were admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo.

Sri Lanka, which is hurtling towards bankruptcy, is facing severe shortages of essentials such as fuel, food and medicines, forcing the people to queue up for the limited stocks.

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The economic crisis in the island nation has created political unrest with the protesters camping outside the president’s office, demanding his resignation. The protests have also led to the resignation of prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s elder brother on May 9.

First published on: 09-07-2022 at 04:31:04 pm
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