In Sri Lanka, protesters broke down President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s front door while gunshot-like noises were reportedly heard nearby, according to witnesses.
On Saturday, July 9, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, calling on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down.
On Chatham Street in Colombo and at the GotaGoGama agitation location in Galle Face, protesters were confronted by strong tear gas and water cannon fire.
Witnesses said that when demonstrators approached the president’s official house, police could be seen receding.
The president’s exact whereabouts is unknown at this time.
In one of the greatest anti-government marches in the crisis-ridden nation this year, thousands of protestors attacked the president’s official home in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial metropolis.
Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, broke into the president’s residence, video footage from local TV news NewsFirst channel showed.
Two defence ministry sources said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was removed from the official premises on Friday for his safety ahead of the planned rally over the weekend despite an existing curfew.
At least 33 persons have been hospitalized with injuries.
The island of 22 million people is struggling under a severe foreign exchange shortage that has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging it into the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
Many blame the country’s decline on Rajapaksa who announced days ago that the Country is bankrupt. Largely peaceful protests since March have demanded his resignation.
Thousands of people headed into Colombo’s government district, shouting slogans against the president and dismantling several police barricades to reach Rajapaksa’s house, a Reuters witness said.
Police fired shots in the air but were unable to stop the angry crowd from surrounding the presidential residence, the witness said.