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People protest inside the President’s House in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Saturday, July 9.

Protesters broke into the official residences of Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister on Saturday as people were demonstrating over the country’s worsening economic crisis.

It started with more than 100,000 people amassing outside the President’s House in Colombo, calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign. Demonstrators were later seen inside the building, hanging banners from the balcony and swimming in the residence’s pool. Rajapaksa was not at the site and had been moved elsewhere, security officials told CNN.

Protesters then breached the official residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to local media reports. They also broke into his private residence. Live video streamed by local media and seen by CNN showed his private residence engulfed in flames as crowds gathered at the scene. Wickremesinghe was not there at the time it was breached; he had been moved earlier to a secure location, his office said.

Mahinda Yapa, Sri Lanka’s Speaker of Parliament, said Rajapaksa has informed him that he will resign on July 13, the speaker’s office announced late Saturday. Wickremesinghe said he was also willing to resign and make way for an all-party government to take over.

Sri Lanka 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.

More than 100,000 people amassed outside the President’s House on Saturday, police said.

Protesters swim in the pool at the President’s House on Saturday.

An injured protester is carried away to an ambulance on Saturday. At least 55 people were injured in the protests, according to Dr. Pushpa Zoysa with the National Hospital of Sri Lanka.

People sit on a bed inside the President’s House.

Firefighters work inside the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after protesters set it on fire on Saturday.

A Buddhist monk takes part in Saturday’s protest.

Police fired water and tear gas to disperse protesters gathering in the street leading to the President’s House.

A protester reacts to tear gas that was used by police near the President’s House on Saturday.

Firefighters try to douse a fire at the prime minister’s private residence on Saturday.

Protesters run from tear gas used by police near the president’s residence on Saturday.

People gather inside the President’s House.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent months, calling for the country’s leaders to resign over accusations of economic mismanagement. In several major cities, including Colombo, hundreds are forced to line up for hours to buy fuel, sometimes clashing with police and the military as they wait.

Police use a water cannon as they try to disperse protesters Saturday in Colombo

Protesters carry an injured man on Saturday.

Demonstrators celebrate after entering the President’s House on Saturday.

Police use tear gas to disperse protesters Saturday.

SOURCE: DINUKA LIYANAWATTE/REUTERS – EDITION.CNN.COM


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