Sri Lanka’s embarrassed president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence in Colombo on Saturday, the best defenders told AFP before protesters gathered to demand his resignation.

“The president was safely escorted,” sources said, adding that troops fired in the air to prevent angry crowds from attacking the presidential palace.

Commercial broadcaster Sirasa TV showed a crowd entering a once tightly guarded home.
Sri Lanka suffers months of food and fuel shortages, long-term power outages and a surge in inflation after a shortage of foreign currency to import important commodities.

A large crowd rushed to the capital for demonstrations, the latest expression of anxiety caused by the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

Police withdrew the curfew issued on Friday after opposition parties, rights activists and bar associations threatened to sue the police chief.

Thousands of rebels have ignored the stay-at-home order and even forced railroad authorities to run trains to take them to Colombo for Saturday’s rally, officials said. – AFP

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