A day after protesters stormed the home of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo, the premises virtually became a new picnic spot on Sunday with people strolling on balconies, relaxing in bedrooms , training in the gym, dining in the kitchen and swimming in the pool.
People inside the president’s house can be seen taking selfies with expensive cars in the backdrop.
“We showed our displeasure by waving the flag saying that the system they have maintained for 74 years is repressive of our people, of our rights. They were oppressive of the people. They just hung on to power using the forces military, that’s why our placard was the black flag showing the descent to the government. Young people are against this system,” the news agency said. ANI quoted one of the protesters as saying.
The AP news agency reported that some made tea, while others issued statements from a conference room demanding the president and prime minister leave.
On Saturday, a dramatic video circulated on social media shows a sea of protesters storming the presidential palace in Colombo. Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, stormed into the president’s residence, video footage from local television station NewsFirst showed.
Protesters took the opportunity to cool off in the pool at Rajapaksa’s official residence after storming the compound, video footage posted by local media and on social media showed.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General Shavendra Silva, urged all citizens to support the armed forces and the police in order to maintain peace in the country. He made the remarks in a special statement accompanied by the commanders of the three forces.
Protesters also broke into the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and set it on fire on Saturday evening, angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.
Several journalists were also attacked by security forces, after which other protesters gathered in the area, the Daily Mirror reported.
Months of protests have all but dismantled the Rajapaksa political dynasty, which has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades but is accused by protesters of mismanagement and corruption. The president’s older brother resigned as prime minister in May after violent protests led him to seek refuge at a naval base. He then moved into a house in Colombo.
The island nation is counting on help from India and other countries as leaders try to negotiate a bailout with the IMF. Wickremesinghe said recently that negotiations with the IMF were complex as Sri Lanka was now a failed state.
(With agency contributions)