Updated Jul 9, 2022 - World

Protesters storm Sri Lanka’s presidential palace, set prime minister’s home ablaze

Protesters gather inside the premises of the Sri Lanka Presidential Palace to demand the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 9 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Protesters on Saturday broke into Sri Lanka's prime minister's private residence and set it on fire, just hours after entering the country's presidential palace while calling on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down over his handling of the country’s economic crisis.

Driving the news: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier in the day agreed to resign from his post once all parties agree on forming a new government.

State of play: When protesters broke into Rajapaksa's official residency. However, he had been evacuated before they entered the premises, per Al Jazeera.

  • Protesters were seen swimming in the presidential palace's pool and cooking in the kitchen while waving or holding the country's national flags.
  • Thousands of people have traveled to the country's capital to join the protests, which have been ongoing for months.

By the numbers: At least 31 people have been injured in the protests, per CNN, which cited the National Hospital of Sri Lanka.

The big picture: Sri Lanka's government lacks sufficient foreign reserves to pay for fuel and other key imports, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

  • Economic mismanagement, the COVID pandemic and unaffordable tax cuts passed in 2019 have helped plunge the country into the economic crisis.
  • The country is facing major food and medicine shortages, which doctors in the country said in May could lead to deaths, Al Jazeera reports.

In photos: Protesters break into presidential palace

Protesters gather inside the premises of the Sri Lanka Presidential Palace on July 9. Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Protesters gather inside the premises of the Sri Lanka Presidential Palace on July 9. Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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