Mobs stormed Sri Lanka’s presidential palace, helping themselves to food from the disgraced leader’s kitchen
A crowd of protesters who forced their way into Sri Lanka’s presidential palace on Saturday raided the compound’s kitchen and swam in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s private pool. In the midst of mass unrest, Ranil Wickremesinghe (Prime Minister) and Rajapaksa (First Minister) have announced their resignations.
Around 100,000 people are believed to have surrounded the president’s residence in Colombo on Saturday, and local sources told reporters that Rajapaksa had been “escorted to safety”Sold at unknown place by soldiers. When security forces failed to hold back the mob outside the compound, droves of demonstrators forced their way into the president’s residence.
Video footage shared on social media showed dozens of the protesters raiding cupboards in Rajapaksa’s kitchen and cooking whatever food they found.
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) July 9, 2022
Others made their way to the president’s quarters, snapping selfies on a bed and rummaging through drawers. They were seen cleaning up the mess after they had finished.
Outside, a large group of protesters stripped off their shirts and dived into Rajapaksa’s swimming pool.
Sri Lanka’s situation has been chaotic for many months. There is a shortage of fuel and food, and the prices are skyrocketing. For the first time, in history, Sri Lanka went into default on its foreign debts in May. This month saw the introduction of fuel rationing and the appearance of armed police officers and soldiers at petrol stations.
Covid-19, the pandemic that decimated vital tourist revenue in the country, is the main reason for the crisis. However, Rajapaksa’s government increased spending, cut taxes, and printed cash to pay foreign bonds, driving inflation upwards.
Rajapaksa later announced that he would be leaving office next week. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe announced his own resignation hours earlier, but the announcement didn’t deter protesters from setting his residence on fire, after riot police unsuccessfully tried to deter the crowd with tear gas.
Chaos reigns in Sri Lanka. Protestors set fire to the residence of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Have a look! pic.twitter.com/nOThbWzALD
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 9, 2022
Several dozen people were reported injured during Saturday’s protests in Colombo.
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