Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees as protesters storm residence


Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence in Colombo on Saturday.

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (File photo)

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence in Colombo on Saturday moments before thousands of protesters broke through police barricades and stormed the compound.

Police use tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (Reuters photo)

Local TV NewsFirst showed video footage from the protest where people can be seen holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets.

A top defence source told AFP that the president was escorted to a safe location.

Demonstrators from across the country arrived in buses, trains and trucks to Colombo earlier on Saturday to express outrage over the government’s failure to protect them from economic ruin. Protesters shouted “Gota go home,” using a common shortened version of the president’s name.

According to Reuters, at least 21 people, including two police, were injured and hospitalised in the protests.

Police disperse demonstrators at Saturday’s protest near the President’s official residence (Reuters photo)

Sri Lanka is going through one of the worst economic crises that the country has seen. Many blame the country’s decline on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Protests since March have demanded the president’s resignation.

(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)

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