Thousands of people queued for hours under Colombo’s midday sun to catch an unprecedented glimpse of one of the most powerful buildings in the country, the official residence of the president.

Queues snaked around the block. Some people told us they had been waiting for more than six hours to get in.

The city has never seen anything like this.

The president’s house has become the people’s palace, and they are reveling in the moment.

Crowds gather around the pool, and families climb the sweeping staircase to the second floor to admire the massive chandelier, comfortable sofas and pool table.

Here we meet Niranji Peren. For the past two days, she brought her teenage daughter to the big house.

Ms Perena told Sky News she was disgusted to see the waste and expense here, while ordinary Sri Lankans suffer.

She blames it on the Rajapaksa political dynasty economic collapse of the country.

“They have destroyed our country beyond repair,” she said. “We originally voted for them, but they took huge loans from China and I don’t think they had any plans to pay them back.”

Mrs. Perena remembered her vacation in Europe. Now the family cannot afford to buy fuel, even if it were available.

She walked two miles to visit the president’s house.

In another wing, a group of protest leaders defend the president’s bedroom.

Read more: Protesters swim in Sri Lankan president’s pool – and warn they will stay until he steps down

Crowds flock to the presidential building to see the wealth displayed inside
Photos from Nicole Johnston, eyewitness of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka

With high ceilings and a four-poster bed, it is a symbol of the extreme gulf between the rich and powerful and the poor.

The president had a huge marble bathroom and an outdoor jacuzzi.

Protesters are not letting people into this part of the building. Like, it should be saved for the next head of the country.

“People have no food and no electricity”

Angelo Kulasuriya says the house belongs to future generations.

He adds that the first time he saw the bedroom, it made him angry.

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Inside the Presidential Palace of Sri Lanka

“People on the street are suffering without electricity,” he said. “People don’t have food. No fuel.”

The protesters and the massive crowds who came to visit the President’s house feel that they are close to winning this battle to rid the country of Rajapaksa.

Over the weekend, President Gathabai Rajapaksa announced that he would step down on Wednesday.

Photos from Nicole Johnston, eyewitness of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka
Angelo Kulasuriya said he became angry when he saw the inside of the residence

Read more:
Inside the Presidential Palace of Sri Lanka
The President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka will resign

And on Monday, the members of the Cabinet of Ministers announced that they will also resign when the all-party government is formed.

This will pave the way for the appointment of a new prime minister.

People are demanding the resignation of the current Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe.

If both the President and the Prime Minister step down, many Sri Lankans will feel that the months of hardship and ongoing demonstrations have not been in vain.

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