STORY: Demonstrators accused Rajapaksa of being responsible for the country's worst economic crisis in living memory and marched towards his official residence.
The South Asian island of 22 million people is close to running out of fuel and has struggled for months to find enough U.S. dollars to pay for essential imports such as food, cooking gas and medicine. Sri Lanka this week shut schools and stopped providing fuel to all but essential services.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whom critics blame for the financial crisis for having given key posts to relatives and being slow to seek an IMF bailout, has been under prolonged pressure to step down, though he has said he plans to stay on until his term ends in 2024.
Two of his brothers resigned earlier as prime minister and finance minister following weeks of street protests.