Watch: Protesters take over office of Sri Lankan Prime Minister

Wickremesinghe today declared an emergency and imposed a curfew in the western province of the country as protesters came prepared to face tear gas shelling by security forces deployed outside Wickremesinghe's residence.
Demonstrators gather outside the office of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Demonstrators gather outside the office of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil WickremesingheReuters

COLOMBO: As protests intensified in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo, protestors who had gathered outside Sri Lanka PM's office have taken over his residence at Flower Road here. Security personnel today resorted to tear-gas shelling to drive away protestors on the streets of Colombo.

These reports come as the embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who escaped to the Maldives. appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the interim President of Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe today declared an emergency and imposed a curfew in the western province of the country as protesters came prepared to face tear gas shelling by security forces deployed outside Wickremesinghe's residence.

Air patrolling also began around the PM's residence. The country's opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said that the PM cannot exercise the powers of the President, and cannot declare a curfew or a state of emergency.

Demonstrators stand on the wall of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office premises
Demonstrators stand on the wall of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office premises

"PM becomes acting President only if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the CJ in consultation with the Speaker forms the view that the President is unable to act," Premadasa tweeted. "In the absence of any of these, the PM cannot exercise the powers of President, and cannot declare curfew or a state of emergency," he said in another tweet.

Security personnel push a man away as demonstrators gather outside the office of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister
Security personnel push a man away as demonstrators gather outside the office of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister

Military personnel used tear gas shells to disperse protestors who scaled the wall to enter the Sri Lankan PM's residence in Colombo. Sri Lankan authorities today confirmed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had flown to the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards after full approval of the country's Defence Ministry. The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Gotabaya had landed at the Velana International Airport in Male on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane.

The crisis-hit island country's Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that he is yet to receive a letter of resignation from Gotabaya. "We haven't received President Gotabaya's resignation yet, but we hope to get one in a day," Abeywardena told ANI.

73-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa had gone into hiding after crowds of protestors stormed his residence on July 9 and he had announced that he will resign on July 13.

The country is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst economic crisis with soaring inflation.

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