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Selfies, picnics, board games: Inside Sri Lanka's presidential palace day after it was stormed

Sri Lankans can be seen roaming the presidential palace, just days after it was attacked by thousands of protestors angry about the worst economic crisis the country has faced in decades.

Both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (premier) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that they would resign to face the protests.

After a day of chaos in Colombo, the prime minister’s private residence caught fire and was set ablaze on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, calm returned to the city. But protesters have promised to occupy the presidential palace till both leaders leave.

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Many people have been seen milling around the presidential palace, many with their families. There are also streams of young people and food hampers queuing up to get into the presidential residence.

In the trees, speakers have been placed to remind visitors to be patient and use a one-way system to get a “bizarre tour” around the palace.

Indika Jayawaradana is visiting the residence with his wife, two children and their two children.

Image Indika Jayawaradana visits the president’s home in Sri Lanka with his family.
Image: Protesters look at the presidential residence. Pic by AP
Image The presidential gym in Sri Lanka is used by women.

He said that the president might leave, but that he could be replaced by someone who is loyal to him. That worries me.

Protest organizers who broke into the residence first, have become tour guides.

They rush the crowds and make sure they follow the instructions of the loudspeakers.

They have complete control over the building. There are some police officers outside, while other officers roam the crowds taking photos as everyone else.


39 people hurt during protests


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Sri Lankan protesters were hit with tear gas and water cannon

It doesn’t seem like there is any way to stop it.

During Saturday’s protests, 39 people were injured, including two officers from the police.

The president’s residence was surrounded by angry protestors, despite police firing shots in the air.

Many hundreds of flag-bearing protesters crowded into the president’s property on the seafront and used the swimming pools via a Facebook livestream.


Relaxing and taking a break in the palace


Image Women take photos by the pool at the presidential residence
Image People prepare food in the garden at the residence of the Prime Minister
Image: Protesters relax on the sofas in the living room of the official residence of Prime Minister. Pic by AP

Protesters also gathered outside the Presidential Secretariat which is the residence of the prime minister and office of the president.

Both Mr Rajapaksa & Mr Wickremesinghe were moved to a safe location.

Sri Lanka, which is home to 22 millions people, is currently facing its worst economic crisis since 1948, when it gained independence.

Inflation reached a record 54.66% in June, and it is predicted to rise to 70%, putting pressure on cash-strapped populations.

Due to a severe shortage of foreign currency, the country is currently in serious trouble. This has caused it to be unable import essential fuel, food, and medicine.

Many people blame Mr Rajapaksa for the decline.

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