Sri Lanka protesters break into President’s House as thousands rally


Video broadcast on Sri Lankan television showed protesters enter President’s House — Rajapaksa’s office and residence in the commercial capital — after breaking through security cordons placed by police.

Rajapaksa is not at the site and has been moved elsewhere, security officials told CNN. It is unclear how many security personnel are present at the location.

The South Asian nation of 22 million is suffering its worst financial crisis in recent history, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine and fuel.

A police curfew that was earlier imposed in several police divisions in the Western Province of Sri Lanka was lifted on Saturday. Several politicians and the Bar Association in Sri Lanka referred to the curfew as being “illegal,” saying there had been no instances of violence to justify imposing the measure.

Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in recent months, calling for the country’s leaders to resign over accusations of economic mismanagement.

In several major cities, including Colombo, hundreds are forced to queue for hours to buy fuel, sometimes clashing with police and the military as they wait.

Schools have been suspended and fuel has been limited to essential services. Patients are unable to travel to hospitals due to the fuel shortage and food prices are soaring.

Trains have reduced in frequency, forcing travelers to squeeze into compartments and even sit precariously on top of them as they commute to work.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the country has entered talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revive the country’s economy.

This week, he told parliament that talks with the IMF were “difficult” as they entered the discussion as a “bankrupt” country, rather than a developing one.


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