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Protesters Storm Palatial Residence of Sri Lankan President, Swim in His Personal Pool

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A massive crowd of angry Sri Lankan citizens stormed the residence of the island nation’s president on Saturday, forcing him to flee.

The riots were the culmination of months of protests that have shaken the country of 22 million people as it suffers from record-high inflation and shortages of food and fuel.

Footage from the streets near the presidential palace on Saturday showed thousands of protesters gathering around the building.

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Protesters soon overwhelmed law enforcement officials and broke into the palace as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was evacuated to safety. A photo taken from an eagle-eye perspective showed the sea of people flooding into the residence.


One video shared on Twitter showed protesters lifting weights in a gym in the presidential palace. Another showed demonstrators pillaging the kitchen.

Some protesters also took a dip in the swimming pool at the residence.

“I came here to chase away the president. The situation in the country is not good. He has to go for our country to come out of this abyss,” one protester told Al Jazeera.

The storming of Gotabaya’s residence came three days after Sri Lanka defaulted on $78 million of unpaid debt interest, according to the BBC.

Last week, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka announced that inflation had hit a record 54.6 percent.

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Adding to the country’s problems is a severe gas shortage, ABC News reported.

Rajapaksa was not the only one who faced Sri Lankans’ wrath on Saturday.

A video shared by Sri Lankan news agency NewsWire showed protesters attacking a member of the country’s parliament.

Protesters also broke into the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and set fire to it, according to Sri Lankan journalist Azzam Ameen.

If Sri Lanka’s economic disaster seems like an effect of issues plaguing the global economy, University of Sussex professor Mick Moore told the BBC that the reality is “emphatically not that.”

“This is the most manmade and voluntary economic crisis of which I know,” Moore said, calling it the result of “egregious incompetence.”

“The writing was on the wall. They bankrupted their country by printing endless money. Let Sri Lanka be a warning for any country entertaining crazy socialist economic policies,” researcher Eli David tweeted.

Sri Lanka’s constitution defines the nation as a “democratic socialist republic.”

In a televised Saturday statement, the speaker of Sri Lanka’s parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, announced that Rajapaksa would resign on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Wickremesinghe announced his resignation in a Saturday tweet.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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