Protesters storm Sri Lankan president’s home
Updated 3:56 PM ET, Saturday, July 9, 2022
On Saturday, protesters stormed into the official residences of Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister as people demonstrated against the country’s deepening economic crisis.
It started with over 100,000 people gathering outside the president’s house in Colombo, calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Protesters were then seen inside the building, hanging banners from the balcony and swimming in the residence’s swimming pool. Rajapaksa was not at the site and had been moved elsewhere, security officials told CNN.
Protesters then broke into the official residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to local media. They also broke into his private residence. Live video broadcast by local media and seen by CNN showed his private residence engulfed in flames as crowds gathered at the scene. Wickremesinghe was not there when he was raped; he had been moved earlier to a safe place, his office said.
Mahinda Yapa, Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, said Rajapaksa had informed him that he would step down on July 13, the president’s office said on Saturday. Wickremesinghe said he was also ready to step down and make way for a multiparty government to take over.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst financial crisis in its recent history, leaving millions of people struggling to buy food, medicine and fuel. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent months, calling on the country’s leaders to step down over accusations of economic mismanagement.