Thousands and thousands of protestors have managed to storm the official residence of the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The demonstrators from around the country have made their way to Colombo, as they demanded the resignation of the president of Sri Lanka. That came after months of continuous protests regarding the country’s economic crisis and the government’s mismanagement. According to reports, the president has already left the residence and is now in a safer location, away from the demonstrations.
Why did Protests Break Out in Sri Lanka?
The country has been suffering from significant and rampant inflation. It is also struggling to import essential goods, including medicine, fuel, and food. As a result, thousands of Anti-government demonstrators made their way to the capital. The officials even told news agencies that some of them commandeered trains so they could come to the capital. The protestors swarmed through Colombo’s government district. They were shouting and chanting slogans like “Gota go home” refereeing to Sri Lanka president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Protestors were able to break through the numerous police barricades reaching the official residence of the president.
Even though the police tried to stop the protectors, firing warning shots in the air and tear gas, they failed to stop the demonstrations. As a result, the crowds were able to overrun the residence and enter the president’s residence. However, according to authorities, the president was already escorted to safety by the time the demonstrations reached his residence. The sources added that a special military unit is currently protecting the president.
What is Happening inside the Presidential Residence?
There were plenty of Facebook live streams showing footage from inside the presidential residence. The protestors packed the building as they rushed into the corridors and the rooms inside. The footage also showed hundreds of protestors around the grounds outside the building. One of the most popular clips from this is the video of people jumping and swimming inside the pool in the presidential residence. The BBC showed the video, and then it made its way across the internet.
The protestors did not only succeed in entering the presidential residence. Protestors in a different location were also able to storm into the presidential office. It has been the focus of protests for months. According to authorities, a minimum of thirty-three people were injured. That included security forces members. They are currently undergoing treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, located in Colombo.
The Government Tries to Shut Down Protests
The authorities have been trying to stop the protests. They tried imposing a curfew on Friday night. That did not deter the protestors, and the authorities lifted the curfew after pressure from the opposition parties and civil society groups. The PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, called for an emergency meeting. The meeting to include the leaders of the political parties in the country so that they can discuss the current situation and the crisis.
Last week, the authorities suspended the sales of diesel and petrol for non-essential vehicles. It was their attempt to preserve the fuel stocks of the country, which were already dwindling. To battle the shortage, the government has been trying to secure fuel sources on credit. They even tried getting fuel from Russia but to no avail. The government asked for emergency financial help and blamed the situation on the pandemic.
The covid-19 pandemic caused severe damage to one of the important sources of income for the country, the tourist trade. It was one of its largest foreign currency sources, which also added fuel to the fire and helped cause the current economic crisis. Despite the government’s claims, experts believe that the government’s financial mismanagement is the reason behind this. The demonstration started in March, demanding the president to step down. The president’s older brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was the prime minister. He had to tend his resignation because of the protests.