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Saturday, July 9, 2022 – Thousands of protesters in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo have taken over the president’s residence.
Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence this morning during an anti-government march.
The island of 22 million is suffering a severe foreign exchange shortage that has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging the country into the worst financial turmoil in seven decades.
Scores of protesters jump into the president’s swimming pool after storming his house, while others roamed across the overlooking balcony.
Rajapaksa is believed to have been moved from the official residence on Friday July 8, over safety concerns.
Protesters blame Mr Rajapaksa for the economic woes and they have occupied the entrance to his office building for the past three months calling on him to step down.
Video posted on social media showed hundreds of protesters running into the president’s residence, chanting “Gota go home”, calling the president by his nickname. Outside the building, barricades were overturned.
At the president’s office, security personnel tried to stop protesters who passed through the fences and stormed the colonial-era parliament building, which has been converted into his office.
At least 34 people including two police officers were injured in scuffles as protesters tried to enter the residence. Police fired tear gas at protesters.
Two of the injured are in a critical condition while others have sustained minor injuries, hospital officials said.
Watch a video from the scene below