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In the wake of Sri Lanka witnessing protests over the government's handling of the country's economic crisis, hundreds of protesters tried to storm the home of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the capital Colombo, demanding his resignation on Thursday. The Sri Lankan police resorted to the use of tear gas and water cannons to quell the protests. While Rajapaksa was not at home at the time of protests, a video shared on social media showed men and women shouting "lunatic, lunatic go home" and demanding that all members of the powerful Rajapaksa family step down, as per news agency AFP report.

Here are the key highlights: 

Following the violent protest, police in Sri Lanka's capital lifted a curfew on Friday in which dozens of people were arrested and several policemen were hurt near the home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over his handling of an economic crisis. Hundreds of protesters gathered near Rajapaksa's residence in a Colombo suburb late on Thursday before police dispersed them with tear gas and water cannons, a Reuters witness said.

Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office blamed an unidentified 'extremist' group for creating the violent situation during the protest near the Jubilee Post in Nugegoda, Colombo, the Colombo Page reported citing President's media division's press release. 

The mob armed with iron clubs, sickles and clubs marched towards the Sri Lankan President's residence at Mirihana Pangiriwatta, to provoke the protesters and create a riot-like situation in the city, according to news agency ANI report.

Additionally, the statement further revealed the police has arrested several people who were involved in the protest and many of them were identified as organized extremists. It further added that they have spearheaded the protest calling for an Arab Spring in Sri Lanka.

The detainees revealed that the riots were carried out using social media to provoke the people and destabilize the country, the statement added. The protest was staged on Thursday over the government's failure to address the existing issues in the island nation.

The protesters clashed with the police outside the residence of President Rajapaksa in Mirihana. A bus attached to the Sri Lanka Army and a jeep were set on fire by protesters. Moreover, police have imposed a curfew in several areas in Colombo.

Following the protest, at least ten people were injured including journalists. Six people were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital after sustaining injuries following clashes between protestors and police in Mirihana. Another four patients were admitted to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila, Daily Mirror reported.

The protests come at a time when Sri Lanka's economy has been in a free fall since the Covid-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector. Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a food, fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance. Sri Lanka is witnessing at least 10-hour daily power cuts. Sri Lanka's currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8.

(With inputs from agencies)

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