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Sri Lanka crisis: PM Wickremesinghe's residence set on fire

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Colombo, July 9: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's house is reportedly set on fire by an angry mob on Saturday evening.

Hours after thousands of protesters broke through police barricades and stormed into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence, an angry mob marched into the private residence of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and vandalised his properties.

Sri Lanka crisis: PM Wickremesinghes residence set on fire

"Protesters have broken into the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and have set it on fire," said the Lankan Prime Minister's Office.

Visuals of the incident are now all over social media sites.

There are also reports of an assault on journalists, who were covering the protests, by security personnel outside his house.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister has expressed grave regret over the incident. "Freedom of media is paramount to Democracy in Sri Lanka," Sri Lankan PMO said in a statement.

On the other hand, Wickremesinghe on Saturday offered to resign to make way for an all-party government, as protests intensified in the country for the resignation of the government led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa for mishandling the country's worst economic crisis.

The Prime Minister's Media Division said that Wickremesinghe will resign after an all-party government is established and the majority is secured in Parliament. His office said that Wickremesinghe, 73, will continue as Prime Minister until then.

Wickremesinghe told Opposition party leaders that he was taking the decision to step down as the island-wide 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 is due to be finalised shortly.

Wickremesinghe was appointed the Prime Minister after anti-government protests forced the resignation of then prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the elder brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in May.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.

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