Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Leaves Maldives, En Route to Singapore
Reports have suggested that Rajapaksa may travel onwards to Saudi Arabia after his arrival in Singapore.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who earlier fled the island nation to Maldives, boarded a Saudi Airlines plane that will take him to Singapore on Thursday, 14 July.
However, AP reported, quoting Maldivian officials, that Rajapaksa is set to travel onwards to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, also via Saudi Airlines. Rajapaksa departed from Maldives on Saudi Airline flight SV 788 to Singapore, sources said.
In a brief statement, the Sri Lankan Air Force had said that Rajapaksa was flown to Maldives on-board an air force plane on Wednesday, 13 July morning.
Meanwhile, an indefinite nationwide emergency was imposed in Sri Lanka on Wednesday by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who's currently functioning as the acting president after Rajapaksa fled the country.
Soon after the news of President Rajapaksa fleeing emerged, huge protests broke out in the capital city of Colombo again, with demonstrators storming the prime minister's official residence.
Military personnel used tear gas against protesters who scaled the wall to enter the Sri Lankan PM's residence in Colombo. Visuals showed the police firing tear gas shells to scatter protesters near Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office.
Demonstrators To Vacate Important Buildings
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's anti-government demonstrators announced on Thursday that they had decided to vacate some administrative buildings, including the president's house and the prime minister's office, after protesters occupied Rajapaksa's presidential palace and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's private home.
“We are peacefully withdrawing from all buildings except the old Parliament (president's office) and Galle Face (the continuous protest site). We will continue to remain in these places, we will continue to protest until we reach our goals," a spokesperson for the protesters told reporters.
At least 84 people were hospitalised when protesters clashed with the security forces at the prime minister's office and at the main access junction to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, after Rajapaksa fled the country.
The Sri Lankan speaker's office has confirmed that the Parliament is yet to receive the letter of resignation from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel, and other essentials.
(With inputs from PTI and AP.)
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