Sri Lanka protesters force president to flee palace

TEHRAN, Jul. 09 (MNA) – Thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka have broken through police barricades and stormed the president’s official residence in one of the largest anti-government marches this year.

Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, broke into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence in the capital Colombo, video footage from local TV news channel NewsFirst showed on Saturday, Aljazeera reported.

AFP reported, citing a source, that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the residence.
 

Troops fired in the air to prevent angry crowds from overrunning the President’s House, reports said. It is not clear if he was inside the building.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called an emergency meeting of political party leaders amid growing anger over the government’s handling of an economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe also requested the speaker to summon parliament, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Many in the island nation of 22 million people blame the country’s decline on Rajapaksa. Largely peaceful protests since March have demanded his resignation.

RHM/PR

News Code 188901

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