Tens of thousands marched on beleaguered Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s office on Saturday, in the biggest protest to date. Over the country’s dire economic and political crisis.
Sri Lanka’s 22 million people have seen weeks of power blackouts and severe shortages of food, fuel and other essentials in the country’s worst downturn since independence in 1948. Saturday’s social-media organised protest drew the largest numbers since the crisis blew up last month according to AFP reporters. And pressure on Rajapaksa intensified further as the country’s powerful business community also began withdrawing support for the president.
Men and women poured onto Colombo’s seafront promenade and laid siege to the colonial-era Presidential Secretariat, chanting “Go home Gota” and waving the national lion flag.
Others carried handwritten placards that read “It’s time for you to leave” and “enough is enough.”
Barricades blocked the entrance to the president’s office with police in riot gear taking up positions inside the tightly guarded compound.
These are innocent people here. we are all struggling to live. The government must go and allow a capable person to lead the country,” one man told the crowd.
The protests appeared to be peaceful, but a police official said teargas and water cannon were at the ready if needed. On Friday security forces fired water cannon at demonstrating students.
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