Sri Lanka’s embattled president flew out of his country to the Maldives early Wednesday, in a probable prelude to his resignation after months of widespread protests against his island nation’s worst-ever economic crisis.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa had promised over the weekend to resign on Wednesday and clear the way for a “peaceful transition of power” after fleeing his official residence in Colombo just before tens of thousands of protesters overran it.
As president, Rajapaksa enjoys immunity from arrest, and he is believed to have wanted to go abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of being detained.
Protesters took to the streets in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo demanding Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation as news emerged that he has fled to the Maldives. Security Forces used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has dismissed “baseless” and “speculative” media reports that said that India has facilitated President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s exit from the country.
We haven’t received Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation yet, but we hope to get it in a day: Speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament.
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