Sri Lankan protesters storm presidential palace, swim in pool

STORY: Hundreds milled about in the grounds of the colonial-era whitewashed residence, with few security personnel in sight. Some splashed in the swimming pool.

Rajapaksa had left the official residence on Friday (July 8) as a safety precaution ahead of the planned weekend demonstration, two defence ministry sources said. Reuters could not immediately confirm the president's whereabouts.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said he is willing to resign to make way for an all-party government, his office said in a statement on Saturday evening.

The Indian Ocean island of 22 million people is struggling under a severe foreign exchange shortage that has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging it into the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

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