Thousands of protesting Sri Lankans have stormed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office, demanding that he also step down after the ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had appointed him as Acting President in his stead.

The mob, who were undeterred by tear gases and blockades by security personnels, made their way into Wickremesinghe’s office on Wednesday, to express their disapproval of his new role which was earlier announced by the Speaker of the Parliament.

Local media and the Air Force also reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife had fled to Maldives very early, stating he would step down, following incessant protests in Colombo. The announcement of Wickremesinghe as the new leader had angered protesters who camped at the residence of Rajapaksa; making them advance towards his office on the day.

With Sri Lanka being marred by political and economic crisis, protesters held a defiant rally; with many breaching the walls of Wickremesinghe’s office, and causing a ruckus in the government vicinity. The Prime Minister’s whereabout is currently unknown, though he declared a state of emergency shortly after being handed power.

Protesters carry the gate of the prime minister’s office during a protest in Colombo on July 13.

Many protesters have been left unconscious and hospitalized from the chaos, while coverage of the rally was halted by state broadcasters on Wednesday. The Prime Minister also stated that he would not step down till a new government has been set up. This will end the two-decade long leadership of the Rajapaksa brothers in Sri Lanka. Thousands of Sri Lankans have continued to enter the presidential residence in Colombo, with footages making wave of citizens residing in the royal quarters.

Protesters have vowed to remain in Rajapaksa’s residence and other government buildings which have been overran until the current leaders are replaced. Chants were also made taunting the current cabinet, while flags were waved heads-high. Banners were held reading ‘Gota Go Home’, as protesters accused the Rajapaksas of misappropriating government funds for many years; which have led to an economic meltdown in Sri Lanka.

Government officials have also stepped down in months leading to the heated protests, while their family whereabouts have remained unknown.

Citizens believe that President Rajapaksa orchestrated his escape from justice while he had constitutional immunity; as Sri Lankan presidents are protected from arrests while in office.

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