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Anti-govt protesters storm SL President's house
Anti-govt protesters storm SL President's house

Colombo, July 10 (TIWN) Demanding the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, anti-government Sri Lankan protesters on Saturday stormed the President's House in Colombo braving several police and military barricades and tear gas shells.

Since early Saturday night, there were attempts to disperse the protesters and university students who had occupied the area near the President's House overnight.  The President's whereabouts are currently unknown but it is suspected that he is at the heavily-guarded Army headquarters in Battaramulla.  A major people's protest march to Colombo from around the island for Saturday has been planned by religious leaders, political parties, medical practitioners, university teachers, civil rights activists, farmers, and fishermen on Saturday demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.  On Friday night, authorities enforced an indefinite curfew in entrance areas to Colombo and the Defence Ministry had warned police and military have been empowered to act against those engaging in any form of violence.  Lawyers challenged the declaration of curfew as illegal and announced that people could ignore it.  Since early Saturday, people from all the over the country starting pouring into Colombo in trains and buses, chanting slogans ‘Gota go home' and ‘Gota a mad man'.  In the wake of the island nation's worst economic crisis since it gained independence in 1948, people have been protesting since March 31 against President Rajapaksa and his government, asking him to step down.  In the wake of the violent protests, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and several other family members who were in the cabinet and parliament resigned.

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