Public outburst in Sri Lanka amid an unprecedented economic crisis reached a new peak today as thousands of protesters broke through police barricades in Colombo and stormed the president’s official residence. The island nation of 22 million people has been engulfed in chaos with economic and political instability.
According to NDTV’s report citing sources, following intelligence reports that the situation at Saturday’s planned rally “would go out of control”, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was moved to the Army headquarters last night. Police had requested to outlaw the Saturday’s protest, however, three judges on Friday refused to do the same.
16 MPs of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the party led by Rajapaksas, have requested the president to resign immediately. As per news agency AFP, Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has called an urgent cabinet meeting.
Following legal challenge from opposition parties, rights activists and the bar association, the police withdrew a curfew order, which led to thousands of protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, surrounding president’s official residence this morning.
News agency AFP, citing a witness, reported that the police fired shots in the air but were unable to stop the angry crowd from surrounding the presidential residence.
In Columbo, thousands of protestors arrived from across the country packed into buses, trains and trucks to join the protest. Officials informed that the protesters even forced railway authorities to operate trains to take them to Colombo for Saturday’s rally.
News agency AFP quoted a top defence official saying: “The curfew was not a deterrent, in fact it encouraged more people to get on the streets in defiance.”
Ex-cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya, taking to Twitter with hashtag #GoHomeGota, wrote: “In my entire life I have never seen the country United like this with one goal to throw out a failed Leader. The writing is now on YOUR official house WALL. Please go in peace.”
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