Sri Lanka protesters storm prime minister's office

STORY: Protesters in Sri Lanka have stormed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's compound to demand he step down.

Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered outside the premier's office.

Wickremesinghe is an ally of the country's president who fled to the Maldives on Wednesday (July 13).

Gotabaya Rajapaksa's departure came just hours before he was due to step down.

In a video message, the parliament speaker said Rajapaksa had called him to authorize the prime minister to take over as acting president.

That news enraged protesters who now want the prime minister gone too.

Wickremesinghe's office initially declared a state of emergency and a curfew with immediate effect.

They then canceled them but said the measures would be announced again later.

For months, people in Sri Lanka have been struggling due to shortages of essentials including food and fuel.

Many blame the economic crisis on the Rajapaksa family, which has dominated Sri Lanka's politics for almost two decades.

That anger came to head last weekend when hundreds of thousands of people took over key government buildings in Colombo, including the presidential palace.

Parliament is expected to name a new full-time president next week.

A top ruling party source told Reuters the prime minister was the party's first choice, although no decision had been taken.

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