Hours after thousands of protesters stormed into President's House and Presidential Secretariat in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced he will resign in favour of an all-party government.
Making the announcement in a tweet, Wickremesinghe said, "To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister."
After occupying President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence, protesters also occupied the space outside the residence of Wickremesinghe. Visuals of the gathering surfaced on social media.
#SriLanka - Protesters outside Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s private residence. Majority parties want President and Prime Minister both to resign. Interim all party government to be formed. pic.twitter.com/3Dbs1QswnE— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) July 9, 2022
Several thousands of people took to Colombo's streets on Saturday in opposition to the government that they blame for the country's worst financial crisis.
More videos from Colombo. Protestors storming the Presidential secretariat. Monks can also be seen inside the building as others wave Sri Lankan flag. pic.twitter.com/zU8vC0gv0i— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) July 9, 2022
Anticipating protests on Saturday, Gotabaya vacated his house on Friday and moved to an unknown location, as per reports.
Protesters are demanding the resignation of both Gotabaya and Wickremesinghe.
Wickremesinghe's office said that he will continue as Prime Minister until the new government is made.
Earlier on Saturday, Wickremesinghe told party leaders he was taking the decision to step down in view of the fact that nationwide fuel distribution is due to recommence this week, the World Food Programme Director is due to visit the country this week, and the debt sustainability report for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to be finalised shortly.
So as to ensure the safety of the citizens, the prime minister said he is agreeable to this recommendation by the Opposition party leaders.
(With PTI inputs)