Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled from his official residence in Colombo this Saturday, July 9th, minutes before it was taken over by thousands of angry protesters demanding the resignation of the president due to the serious economic situation in the country.
The protesters broke the security perimeter surrounding the Government Palace, despite the fact that the Police resorted to tear gas to prevent the intrusion, said the Sri Lankan newspaper Ada Derana, which also stated that the president had previously left the place.
According to local media, Rajapaksa is in a secret place protected by the Army. This occurred hours after the Police imposed a curfew in Colombo and its surroundings with the intention of containing the protests to demand the resignation of the president and prime minister.
NOW – Protesters storm the presidential palace in Sri Lanka's capital.pic.twitter.com/Wv6oQ10kBQ
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The protesters claim that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took office as prime minister two months ago, are responsible for the economic crisis, the worst since the country’s independence in 1948.
Sri Lanka is almost bankrupt and has defaulted on $7 billion of foreign debt due this year. It must pay back more than $5 billion a year until 2026. Its foreign exchange reserves are nearly depleted and it cannot import food, fuel, cooking gas, and medicine.
The lack of fuel to run power plants has led to long daily power outages. The country has survived mainly thanks to lines of credit extended by India to buy fuel and other basic products.