Video: Sri Lanka president flees as protesters storm home, crash swimming pool

Sources say that the president has been escorted to safety



Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wears a protective mask as he waves to supporters while leaving a polling station.
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wears a protective mask as he waves to supporters while leaving a polling station.

By AFP

Published: Sat 9 Jul 2022, 12:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Jul 2022, 2:25 PM

Sri Lanka's beleaguered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence in Colombo Saturday, a top defence source told AFP, before protesters gathered to demand his resignation stormed the compound.

"The president was escorted to safety," the source said, adding that troops fired in the air to prevent angry crowds from overrunning the President's Palace.

Sirasa TV, a private broadcaster, showed crowds entering the once tightly-guarded residence.

Sri Lanka has suffered through months of food and fuel shortages, lengthy blackouts and galloping inflation after running out of foreign currency to import vital goods.

Huge crowds had poured into the capital for the demonstration, the latest expression of unrest sparked by the island nation's unprecedented economic crisis.

Police had withdrawn a curfew order issued on Friday after opposition parties, rights activists and the bar association threatened to sue the police chief.

Thousands of anti-government protesters ignored the stay-home order and even forced railway authorities to operate trains to take them to Colombo for Saturday's rally, officials said.

Local and international news outlets posted videos of protestors inside the house using the swimming pool and other facilities - including the kitchen and bedroom.

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