Sri Lankan opposition parties in talks after protesters ransack capital

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Opposition parties in Sri Lanka have begun consultations to form a new government, a day after protesters stormed the homes of both the president and prime minister, forcing the country’s leadership to say they would step down. Shavendra Silva, Sri Lanka’s chief of defence staff, on Sunday called for a peaceful resolution to a crisis in which tens of thousands of people, angered by rising prices and shortages of essential goods, converged on the capital Colombo on Saturday. The US also called on the ruling elite to resolve the crisis “quickly” and the EU called for a “peaceful, democratic and orderly transition”.  On Saturday protesters entered the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid chants of “Gota, go home!” In chaotic scenes captured on film and video, protesters stormed into the white colonial-era residence before cooking and showering in its rooms, lounging on furniture and beds and splashing in the pool. Protesters also broke into the private house of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and set it ablaze. Rajapaksa, part of a political family that Sri Lankans blame for the worst economic crisis in decades, was not at home. His whereabouts remain unknown a day later.

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