In pictures: Sri Lankan protesters hold up after the president’s departure


The abrupt departure of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa early Wednesday did little to quell the anger of protesters who have been filling the streets of the capital Colombo for months demanding his resignation.

Undeterred by tear gas, the blazing sun and a military helicopter hovering above us, the crowd continued to swell Wednesday, bolstered by arrivals from across the country. Protesters marched from the president’s office and stormed the office of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, later in the day.

Riot police with rifles and gas masks stood guard but did not attack the crowd of protesters, including families with young children.

Many Sri Lankans processing the news that the president had fled to the Maldives seemed to be enjoying a monumental day in the country’s history, the culmination of months of protests against the country’s leaders who drove the economy into a deep crisis.

The protesters also demanded that Mr Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister, resign, chanting: “We don’t want the robber Ranil, the bank thief, the deal thief!” His office announced that he would serve as acting president in the absence of Mr Rajapaksa.

Police fired tear gas at protesters before protesters flooded the prime minister’s office.

Protesters help each other to flush tear gas.

Protesters celebrated in the prime minister’s office after taking over.

Members of the military guard a room in the Prime Minister’s office.

Protesters cheer in the prime minister’s office.

People taking pictures outside the President’s Secretariat.

Graffiti on a wall near the president’s house depicting messages from the protest movement demanding reform.

People lined up to enter the prime minister’s residence after protesters took over.

Graffiti saying ‘Open to all’ on the wall of the Prime Minister’s residence.

People took selfies in the prime minister’s home.

A man played the piano in the Prime Minister’s residence.

People taking pictures in the prime minister’s residence.

People queue to enter the president’s house after protesters stormed the house.

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