STORY: After a dramatic storming of his official residence by swarms of angry protesters, Sri Lanka’s president said he will step down on July 13, according to the country’s parliamentary speaker.
The impending departure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa comes after video footage showed protesters swimming in his pool, jumping on a four-poster bed, even emptying a chest of drawers.
And Sri Lankans frustrated by the country’s economic struggles didn’t stop there – protesters also set fire to the Prime Minister’s private home, his office said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is also willing to resign, according to his office, to make way for an all-party government.
The dramatic escalation of events came after months of largely peaceful protests over a dire economic crisis on the Indian Ocean island nation of 22 million people….
with many wishing the country’s leaders had left sooner.
“Because had they gone earlier there wouldn't have been any destruction… and it's time that we got all our stolen money back to this country. And also the air conditions are running in that presidential palace while people don't have electricity in their homes."
Sri Lanka is buckling under a severe foreign exchange shortage that has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging it into the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.
Soaring inflation reached a record 54.6% in June and is expected to hit 70% in the coming months.
Sources told Reuters at least 39 people, including two police officers, were injured and hospitalized during the protests.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in the blaze at the prime minister’s house.
Neither the prime minister nor the president were in their residences when the buildings were attacked.
The country’s parliamentary speaker said in a letter to President Rajapaksa that several decisions had been made at the meeting of party leaders - including the president and the prime minister resigning as soon as possible and parliament being called within seven days to select an acting president.