The police fired in the air but were unable to stop protesters from surrounding presidential residence.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday said he was willing to resign to make way for a new unity government, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence when it was mobbed by protesters.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
"To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens, I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government. To facilitate this, I will resign as Prime Minister," tweeted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday evening.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was moved to the Army headquarters last night following intelligence reports that the situation at Saturday's planned rally "would go out of control", a top government source told NDTV. On Friday, three judges refused police requests to outlaw Saturday's protests.
Thousands of protesters -- many of whom packed into buses, trains and trucks from several parts of the country to reach Colombo -- surrounded the president's official residence this morning after breaking barricades set up by the police. Several military personnel have also joined citizens as they demand the resignation of President Rajapaksa.
The police fired shots in the air but were unable to stop the angry crowd from surrounding the building, a witness was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
"We have told Gota over and over again to go home but he is still clinging onto power. We will not stop until he listens to us," said Sampath Perera, a 37-year-old fisherman who took an overcrowded bus from the seaside town of Negombo 45 km (30 miles) north of Colombo, to join the protest. The protesters even forced railway authorities to operate trains to take them to Colombo for Saturday's rally, officials said.
"The curfew was not a deterrent, in fact it encouraged more people to get on the streets in defiance," a top defence official was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
"In my entire life I have never seen the country United like this with one goal to throw out a failed Leader. The writing is now on YOUR official house WALL. Please go in peace," Sanath Jayasuriya, a former cricketer, tweeted with #GoHomeGota.
Sixteen MPs from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have requested the president to resign immediately.
Sri Lanka is facing severe foreign exchange shortage that has limited supplies of fuel, food and medicine, plunging it into the worst financial turmoil in seven decades.
The country has sought a $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund to ease the dollar drought.
With inputs from agenciesPost a comment