Sri Lankan workers and youth having overthrown the reactionary Rajapaksa clan now want to go forward to socialism

THOUSANDS of revolutionary youth and workers defied tear gas, bullets and Sri Lankan armed forces as they stormed the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo and occupied it yesterday morning.

Having fled his office, an absent Wickremesinghe issued an order to Sri Lanka’s military to ‘do whatever is necessary to restore order’.

Once inside the building they stood on chairs and desks waving the Sri Lankan flag, singing and chanting ‘that’s what we said, don’t mess with us’.

There are photographs on the walls of the prime minister’s office included many of the Queen and Prince Charles.

On Tuesday evening it was reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had fled to the Maldives and is on his way to America.

The presidential residence was stormed on Saturday and is still occupied by Sri Lanka’s revolutionary workers and youth.

Demonstrators who took over the prime minister’s office yesterday, erupted in joy in the building, taking selfies and chanting ‘Ranil lunatic, Gota lunatic’ while banging drums in celebration at their departure.

On the second floor balcony, just above a sign saying ‘Prime Minister’s Office’, a crowd of youth were holding the Sri Lankan flag aloft, delirious with glee, after managing to rip the gates open and push through a wall of soldiers after enduring hours of teargas.

At 10am UK time, protesters managed to breach the gates to the prime minister’s office and flooded into the grounds.

Protesters had been trying to get into the prime minister’s office in Colombo for days, but PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was not there, having been in hiding the last few days, since protesters burnt down his residential home.

Wickremesinghe – an ally of the Rajapaksas – is also highly unpopular among the workers and youth – who have been calling for both leaders to go.

Despite his location being unknown and his power overthrown, he was still issuing orders through his office up until it was invaded yesterday morning, including declaring a State of Emergency and Curfew Orders.

Sri Lanka’s national television channel Rupavihini suspended its telecast, with officials saying engineers shut the channel down as throngs of protesters entered the state television office.

Protesters in Colombo threw back canisters of tear gas fired at them by police forces and ripped open the gates to the prime minister’s office in Colombo.

Initially, a wall of soldiers was holding them back and an angry face-off took place as protesters shouted at the soldiers not letting them in.

Standing on top of the guardhouse were soldiers with guns, but their weapons were lowered and protesters standing next to them were leading the crowd in chants.

The anger of the thousands who were gathered outside the gates of the prime minister’s office increased palpably after he declared a nationwide state of emergency and imposed a curfew on the western province of the island nation.

Police forces had been firing volleys of tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd, but demonstrators remained defiant and vowed to keep pressing on.

The police fired tear gas canisters extremely high, streaks of smoke were arching across the blue sky. At that height they became dangerous projectiles as they landed, with everyone running for cover in the smoke.

In response people used traffic cones to scoop up tear gas canisters and lobbed them back to soldiers.