President’s house or tourist spot? Sri Lanka protesters relax in bedrooms, work out in gym | Watch

A day after protesters stormed Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s house in Colombo, the premises has virtually become a new picnic spot on Sunday with people strolling through the balconies, relaxing in bedrooms, working out the gym, dining in the kitchen and taking a dip in the swimming pool.

People inside the president’s house can be seen taking selfies with expensive cars as the backdrop.

“We have been showing our displeasure by holding the flag saying that the system that they are continuing for 74 years is repressive of our people, our rights. They were oppressive towards people. They were just clinging on to power by using military forces that’s why our sign was the black flag showing the descent to the government. The youth are against this system,” news agency ANI quoted one of the protesters as saying.

News agency AP reported that some made tea, while others issued statements from a conference room demanding that the president and prime minister go.

On Saturday, a dramatic video that surfaced on social media shows a sea of protesters storming the presidential palace in Colombo. Some protesters, holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets, broke into the president’s residence, video footage from local TV news NewsFirst channel showed.

The protesters took the opportunity to cool off in the swimming pool in Rajapaksa’s official residence after storming the compound, video footage published by local media and on social media showed.

Meanwhile, chief of defence staff (CDS) general Shavendra Silva urged all citizens to give their support to the armed forces and the police in order to maintain peace in the country. He made these remarks in a special statement accompanied by Tri Force Commanders.

Protesters also broke into Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence and set it on fire on Saturday night, angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.

Several journalists were also attacked by the security forces after which more protestors gathered in the area, Daily Mirror reported.

Months of demonstrations 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 saw him seek safety at a naval base. He later moved into a house in Colombo.

The island nation is relying on aid from India and other nations as leaders try to negotiate a bailout with the IMF. Wickremesinghe said recently that negotiations with the IMF were complex because Sri Lanka was now a bankrupt state.

(With inputs from agencies)