Protesters storm Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence

Guwahati: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is said to have left his official residence in the city on Saturday after it was encircled by protesters, AFP reported.

The police shot tear gas at them in response to protesters calling for Rajapaksa and his government to quite due to the island nation’s greatest economic crisis in recent memory.

Thousands of protestors carrying Sri Lankan flags rode on the few vehicles that were still on the road due to a severe fuel crisis while others rode bicycles, and many people walked to the protest locations in the capital city of Colombo from the suburbs after police lifted an overnight curfew.

Protesters have blocked the entrance to Rajapaksa’s office, blaming him for the country’s economic problems for three months.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said last month that the country’s economy has collapsed. The government’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund have been complex because it has now entered negotiations as a bankrupt state.

Sri Lanka declared in April that it will put off repaying its international debt because of a lack of foreign cash. $51 billion is the total amount of its foreign debt, of which $28 billion must be repaid by the end of 2027.

On Friday night, police imposed a curfew in Colombo and several other major urban centres, but they lifted it early on Saturday morning when attorneys and opposition lawmakers objected and said it was unlawful.

The city is staffed with riot police and soldiers, and the vicinity of the president’s official mansion is well fortified.

On Friday, Julie Chung, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka, urged protestors to do so peacefully and urged the military and police to “provide nonviolent protesters the space and security to do so.”

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