Protesters broke into the Sri Lankan leader’s official residence in Colombo on Saturday as more than 100,000 amassed outside, according to police, calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign over his handling of the country’s economic crisis.
Protesters enter presidential residence: Video broadcast on Sri Lankan television and on social media 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.
Images from Colombo paint a chaotic scene, with pictures showing demonstrators running from tear gas, and clashing with police in body armor.
What sparked the protests? The South Asian nation is suffering its worst financial crisis in recent history, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine and fuel.
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in recent months, calling for the country’s leaders to resign over accusations of economic mismanagement.
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.
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.