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1 dead, 84 injured in Sri Lanka protests

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One person has died and 84 others injured after protests rocked the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Wednesday, hospital officials have said.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed acting president after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country. But the decision triggered further protests demanding that he also resign.

Hospital officials at the Colombo National Hospital said the injuries came from protesters who were outside the prime minister’s office as well as those who were outside parliament.

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Police had fired tear gas at protesters who attempted to break down the gates of the prime minister’s office in Colombo, before finally making their way in. They later made their way towards parliament.

The 26-year-old man died from breathing difficulties after police forces lobbied tear gas.

A military spokesperson told the BBC that a soldier and police officer were amongst the injured and alleged that an assault rifle with ammunition had been stolen by a protester and had not yet been recovered.

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The protests come as Sri Lanka has been suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades. Many blame the Rajapaksa administration for the crisis and see Wickremesinghe, who became prime minister in May, as part of the problem. —BBC

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