By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
COLOMBO (Worthy News) – The prime minister of bankrupt Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has agreed to resign after protestors stormed the president’s residence and office. Parliament and party leaders also demanded that he and the president step down.
It comes shortly after Sri Lanka officially declared bankruptcy this week.
The worst economic crisis on record prompted the largest protest yet Saturday, with demonstrators setting fire to the prime minister’s residence.
Earlier Saturday, tens of thousands of people broke through barricades and entered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence and nearby office, witnesses said.
They expressed fury against a leader they hold responsible for the nation’s troubles.
Many protesters could be seen packing into rooms and corridors, shouting slogans against the beleaguered 73-year-old president.
Footage of demonstrators standing and some bathing in the swimming pool inside the president’s home was widely circulated on social media.
They entered the President’s House in the capital Colombo after the leader had already been evacuated to an unknown location.
Many protestors were spotted on the grounds outside the colonial-era white-washed building. No security officials were visible.
Thousands of protesters also broke open the gates of the sea-front presidential secretariat and the finance ministry, which has been the site of a sit-in protest for months, and entered the premises, TV footage showed.
Military personnel and police at both locations could not hold back the crowd as they chanted slogans asking Rajapaksa to step down.
“Today is independence day for me being born in this nation, not 1948 because today we have fought for our freedom from the tyranny and the scoundrels and greedy politicians who have run our nation to ground zero,” a protector said.
Much public outcry has been directed at the Rajapaksa family, with rioters blaming them for dragging Sri Lanka into chaos with poor management and allegations of corruption.
The economic meltdown has led to severe shortages of essential items, leaving people struggling to buy food, fuel, and other necessities.
Sri Lanka had received aid from India and other countries as its leaders tried negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the crisis.
The turmoil has led to months of protests, nearly dismantling the Rajapaksa political dynasty ruling Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades.
The president’s older brother resigned as prime minister in May after violent protests saw him seek safety at a naval base.
Saturday’s tensions were likely to add to pressure on minority Christians in the Buddhist majority nation. Besides economic difficulties, they already faced persecution, including deadly church bombings in recent years.
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