Look: Sri Lankan farmers, labourers make themselves at home in President's, PM's domains

Images show protesters taking over govt buildings amid clouds of tear gas



A protester sits on a chair surrounded by others after storming the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office
A protester sits on a chair surrounded by others after storming the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office

By AP

Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 11:54 AM

Protesters sitting at a desk in the prime minister's office and waving national flags from the building's rooftop terraces. Ordinary Sri Lankans sprawling in plush living rooms, playing a piano and marvelling at paintings in the vacated presidential palace.

The images of protesters taking over government buildings amid clouds of tear gas and making themselves at home in the lavish surroundings are a striking contrast to the privations of everyday life amid Sri Lanka's economic collapse.

The protesters who have occupied the presidential residence since Saturday and stormed the prime minister's office on Wednesday vow they will stay until both men resign.

Security forces initially used tear gas to try to disperse the protesters at the prime minister's office, but later some retreated and others just stood around the overrun compound.

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At the presidential palace, guards have continued their patrols but haven't intervened as farmers, labourers and students crowded the hallways and airy verandas of the colonial-era residence.

"This belongs to the people," labourer Padama Gamage declared at the President's residence after travelling on a bus from Galle, on the country's southwestern tip, to Colombo to join the demonstrations. "Now I know how these leaders enjoyed luxury at our cost."

A man plays piano at the Prime Minister's official residence on the second day after it was it was stormed
A man plays piano at the Prime Minister's official residence on the second day after it was it was stormed
Protesters react to tear gas after storming the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office, demanding he resign after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country amid economic crisis
Protesters react to tear gas after storming the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office, demanding he resign after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country amid economic crisis
Sri Lankan protesters storm the compound of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office, demanding he resign
Sri Lankan protesters storm the compound of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office, demanding he resign
Sri Lanka army soldiers patrol near the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa three days after it was stormed by anti government protesters
Sri Lanka army soldiers patrol near the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa three days after it was stormed by anti government protesters
Protesters swim as onlookers wait at a swimming pool in the President's official residence a day after it was stormed
Protesters swim as onlookers wait at a swimming pool in the President's official residence a day after it was stormed
A protester, carrying national flag, stands with others on top of the building of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office
A protester, carrying national flag, stands with others on top of the building of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office
Protesters storm the building of Sri Lankan Prime Minister's office
Protesters storm the building of Sri Lankan Prime Minister's office
People throng President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence for the second day after it was stormed
People throng President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence for the second day after it was stormed
Protesters swim as onlookers wait at a swimming pool in the President's official residence
Protesters swim as onlookers wait at a swimming pool in the President's official residence
Protesters, one carrying national flag, storm the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's office, demanding he resign
Protesters, one carrying national flag, storm the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's office, demanding he resign
Protesters rest on sofas in the living hall of Prime Minister's official residence
Protesters rest on sofas in the living hall of Prime Minister's official residence

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