According to TV reports, protesters in Sri Lanka broke into the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Cell phone pictures on Saturday showed a large number of people inside the well-fortified building and on the property in front of it. Videos posted on social media showed hundreds rushing into the residence shouting, “Goto go home.”

Police fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators who waved national flags and called for Rajapaksa’s resignation. The protesters broke through barriers and entered the official residence. Security personnel tried to stop them. A scuffle ensued. At least 34 people were injured, including two police officers. A representative from the nation’s hospital said two of the injured were in critical condition.

It was unclear whether Rajapaksa was staying at the residence. Government spokesman Mohana Samaranayake said he did not know if the president left the building. Hundreds of demonstrators also broke into Rajapaksa’s office in a neighboring building, as reported by television stations.

The demonstrators hold Rajapaksa responsible for the country’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1948 and are also demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who only took office in May. Sri Lanka announced in April that it would not continue to repay its foreign debt for the time being because it did not have enough foreign currency. They amount to around 50 billion euros.

The police have imposed a curfew in the capital Colombo and neighboring areas. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa nevertheless called for participation in the demonstration. “Defy the dictatorship and join the people so that democracy wins. We can do it,” he said.

There have been regular protests in Sri Lanka for months, sometimes accompanied by violence. The 22 million inhabitants lack food, fuel and medicines. The reason is, among other things, a strong devaluation of the national currency, which made imports significantly more expensive. The population blames President Rajapaksa for this. The government under the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced reforms. But this could not calm the population, displeasure has increased in recent weeks.