Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled as supporters surrounded his residence. Sri Lankan news agencies reported that Gotabaya was taken to a different location before the protesters stormed his residence.
Protesters took out a mega rally in Colombo on Saturday after a curfew on protests were lifted demanding president Rajapaksa step down from his role.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe called an emergency meeting of all political parties. He has also summoned a session at the parliament to discuss swift measures to bring back stability.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he will abide by the decision taken during the meeting, people familiar with the developments told CNN-News18.
Videos shared by Sri Lankan news media outlets showed supporters marching with Sri Lankan flags towards the president’s residence in Fort, Colombo chanting slogans demanding his resignation.
Videos also showed protesters breaking through barricades erected at Chatham street.
The police dispersed the protesters using tear gas shells and batons.
At least 30 people including two police officers were injured during ongoing protests and were admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo.
The protesters also forced the railway authorities to run trains as operations were halted due to the energy crisis affecting the island-nation.
The police earlier on Friday imposed a stay-at-home order banning large demonstrations on Saturday but opposition parties, pressure groups and the bar association threatened to sue the police chief after which the orders were rescinded.
On Saturday morning as huge crowds poured onto the streets of Colombo, a major section of the protesters were headed to the residence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa who remains fiercely unpopular amid the economic crisis affecting Sri Lanka.
Videos on social media show Colombo’s main streets filled with thousands of protesters chanting ‘Go Home Gota’ and demanding his resignation. Protesters have also entered the secretariat and were seen shouting slogans from the balconies demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Several dozens of protesters entered the presidential residence and were seen bathing in the swimming pool inside.
The embattled president chose to stay in his role despite growing calls of resignation. He removed his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa from the role of the prime minister earlier this year but it failed to quell the protests.
Sri Lankans have been affected by months of food and fuel shortages, long blackouts and skyrocketing inflation and there is no respite in the horizon for the country.