Protesters storm Sri Lankan PM’s office after president flees

Protesters in Sri Lanka defied tear gas, water cannon and a state of emergency to storm the prime minister’s office after the country’s embattled president fled overseas, with the crowd demanding both men step down in the face of an economic crisis.
In a televised statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he had instructed the military and police to do “what is necessary to restore order”.
But armed security personnel stood by on the grounds of his office as protesters, some holding national flags, milled and took pictures.
Other demonstrators at one point broke into state television studios, as the country’s months-long political and economic crisis appeared to be moving towards a climax.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, promised at the weekend to resign on Wednesday after escaping his own official residence in Colombo just before tens of thousands of protesters overran it.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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