Colombo: Thousands of protesters removed barricades and stormed into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official house here demanding his resignation over the way he handled the economic crisis on Saturday July 9. Many of them had travelled across the nation in buses, trains, and trucks to get to Colombo.
The island, which is home to 22 million people, is experiencing the worst economic crisis in seven decades as a result of a severe foreign exchange shortage that has restricted the import of basic goods like fuel, food, and medicine.
Police failed to prevent protesters from entering the presidential residence despite using water cannons and tear gas. Footage of protesters standing and even taking a dip in the President’s swimming pool was widely shared on social media. Hundreds of people can be seen shouting slogans in the corridors and rooms against the President. There were no security personnel there when the incident happened.
According to sources, he has moved to a safer location as a result of hundreds of irate citizens outside his residence.
TV footage showed that thousands of protesters also managed to open the gates of the Finance Ministry and the Presidential Secretariat, which have been the site of sit-in protests for months.
Following the incident, #SriLankaProtests has been trending on Twitter with cetizens sharing images and videos of the protest.
Former DGP of Jammu & Kashmir Shesh Paul Vaid wrote, “This is what happens when corrupt leadership mismanage country’s finances & completely fail their citizens. Once the hub of tourism in South Asia is now under financial debt of billions. China played an important role in collapse of Colombo. Pakistan soon to follow.”
A Twitter user noted that July 09, 2022 protests will go down in history as Sri Lanka’s largest yet.
Sharing a video of people swimming in the President’s pool, a user wrote, “Civilian does not have food, gas. But this is the luxury life HGotabaya spend. Now it captured by protestors.”
Another wrote, “Today is a lesson to all leaders. Never, ever take the people for granted.”
“A nation divided by political agenda united against the most corrupted family in Sri Lanka. Today we are worthy to be called LIONS,” wrote a user.
09th July a historical day ??
A nation divided by political agenda united against the most corrupted family in Sri Lanka.
— JASON DAIMEEN PERERA ™ (@daimeen_jason) July 9, 2022
Reports claim that over 1,00,000 people gathered outside the residence demanding the resignation of Rajapaksa. Following the incident, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka called an emergency meeting of party leaders.