Sri Lanka Crisis: Ranil Wickramasinghe’s House Caught Fire
Sri Lanka Crisis: Ranil Wickramasinghe’s House Caught Fire: On July 9, anti-government protests set fire to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s residence. Acting Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe’s house caught fire. His 125-year-old piano and more than 4,000 books, some centuries old, were destroyed when a group of protesters set the house on fire.
Anti-government protesters stormed the Rashtrapati Bhavan and other important buildings in Sri Lanka, a country wracked by an economic crisis. They set fire to Wickramasinghe’s private residence in Cambridge Place.
Wickramasinghe told CNN in an interview that most of the items in his residence that were destroyed in the fire were not salvageable. “More than 4,000 of my books have been destroyed, some of which are centuries old,” said Wickramasinghe. A 125-year-old piano was also destroyed in the fire, he said.
A video posted on Twitter by the Daily Mirror newspaper on July 10 showed the horrific scene of Wickramasinghe’s burnt residence and car. Various paintings and other works of art were also spread throughout the house.
Wickramasinghe said he respected the protesters’ right to protest peacefully. But he also said that he will not allow any other government building to be occupied like the President’s Palace or the Prime Minister’s private residence.
The Acting President said he has empowered the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Police to take necessary measures to prevent people from disrupting parliamentary proceedings. In the interview, he said that Ranil will not prevent MPs and Parliament from fulfilling their duties.
“We are trying to stop the police and the military from using weapons… People have attacked some occasions but we still say try your best not to use weapons,” said Ranil Wickramasinghe.