Fugitive Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns
After fleeing to the Maldives on a military helicopter, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has tendered his resignation.
Gotabaya fled amid nationwide protests over the hardship and economic meltdown in the country.
His resignation letter was emailed to the speaker of the parliament late on Thursday, according to new sources.
After the embarrassing protest that saw Sri Lankans taking dips in the President's pool, troops have remained in the street of Colombo to enforce a curfew.
After Gotabaya fled to the Maldives, he reportedly took a Saudi Arabian airline flight to Singapore, where he forwarded his resignation on Thursday evening.
Angry protesters targeted the President and his family, as they are blamed as part of the problem that has led to the country's meltdown.
Reuter quotes a passenger on the flight the President boarded as saying, "Mr. Rajapaksa was met by a group of security guards and was seen leaving the airport VIP area in a convoy of black vehicles."
The airline staff added that "the President, dressed in black, flew business class with his wife and two bodyguards, describing him as "quiet" and "friendly."
Rajapaksa has not sought asylum in Singapore and has entered the country on a private visit, according to the country's foreign ministry.
Sri Lanka currently has an acting President in the person of Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The country is planning to fast-track the process of choosing the next President on July 20.
Minister Wickremesinghe is not a welcomed option for angry Sri Lankans. The people want anyone connected to the Rajapaksas to vacate their offices, and this has led to the renewed call for Mickremesinghe's
"We want Ranil to go home," Malik Perera, a 29-year-old rickshaw driver who participated in the parliament protests, said Thursday. "They have sold the country; we want a good person to take over; until then, we won't stop."
Protesters from across the country occupied the President's residence on Thursday. Some commandeered trains from various cities to Colombo to participate in the protest.
They pushed through the military and police barricade and took over the Minister's and Mr. Rajapaksha's house. Some were seen taking a dip in the swimming pool while others were viewing the luxury cars, arts, and other valuable items.
Protesters are not done yet. There are indications that not until the acting President steps down, the people will continue to express their frustration through protest.
One of the protesters from Kandy, who didn't want to be named, told Standard Gazette, "We are just starting. We won't give in. The government made life hard for everyone, and we want it better."
Reuter quoted one of the organizers of the protest Chameera Dedduwage as saying, "With the president out of the country…, holding the captured places holds no symbolic value anymore."
But another organizer, Kalum Amaratunga, said a crackdown could be imminent after Wickremesinghe branded some protesters "fascists" in an address the previous evening.©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.