Seven Persons Including 2 Policemen Injured as Anti-govt Protesters and Police Clash

Anti-government protesters enter the President’s House at Janadhipathi Mawatha in Colombo. Image Credit: @SriLankaTweet via Twitter -Sakshi Post

Colombo: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday fled his official residence as thousands of protesters surrounded the house in the capital city of Colombo. As per local media reports, some protesters holding Sri Lankan flags and wearing helmets, broke police barriers blocking the president's house and barged into the official residence forcing Gotabaya to run to protect his life and there are no details about the President's whereabouts. 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was removed from the official premises on Friday for his safety ahead of a planned anti-government protest rally, Reuters reported quoting the defence ministry sources. 

Opposition groups had called for mass protests on Saturday and Sunday in a desperate bid to put pressure on President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Wikremesinghe to resign as both the leaders failed to steer the country out of the prevailing worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. 

At least seven persons, including two policemen, were injured as anti-government protesters clashed with security forces. The police fired tear gas at two access roads to the President's House — Chatham Street and Lotus Road, but the defiant protesters managed to storm the official residents.

The protesters had gathered in the Galle Fort area of the city and demanded Gotabaya to step down from the President post. Thousands of protesters were seen waving national flags and shouting anti-government. 

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The island nation of 22 million people is struggling under a severe foreign exchange shortage which has plunged the country into the worst economic crisis. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion. The island nation is seeking a USD 3 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. The analysts have warned that the political and economic instability could potentially derail Sri Lanka's much-awaited bailout package.

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