Protesters in Sri Lanka have breached the entrance to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence amid gunshot-like sounds that witnesses said were heard in the vicinity.
Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Saturday July 09 demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Protestors were met with heavy teargas and watercanon fire on Chatham Street, Colombo, and at the GotaGoGama agitation site in Galle Face.
However, witnesses said police were seen withdrawing as protestors got closer to storming the president’s official residence.
It is unclear at present where the president is currently located.
Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo, have stormed the president’s official residence in one of the largest anti-government marches in the crisis-hit country this year.
Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, broke into the president’s residence, video footage from local TV news NewsFirst channel showed.
Two defence ministry sources said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was removed from the official premises on Friday for his safety ahead of the planned rally over the weekend despite an existing curfew. At least 33 persons have been hospitalized with injuries.
The island of 22 million people is struggling under a severe foreign exchange shortage that 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 Rajapaksa who announced days ago that the Country is bankrupt. Largely peaceful protests since March have demanded his resignation.
Thousands of people headed into 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 in the air but were unable to stop the angry crowd from surrounding the presidential residence, the witness said.
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