President Gotabaya of Sri Lanka escapes the nation aboard a military plane.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has departed Sri Lanka on a military plane, amid major demonstrations over its economic problems.
The country’s air force confirmed the 73-year-old traveled to the Maldives with his wife and two security personnel. They landed in the capital, Male, at approximately 03:00 local time (22:00 GMT), BBC Sinhala understands.
Mr. Rajapaksa’s departure ends a family dynasty that has dominated Sri Lanka for decades. He had been in hiding after protestors stormed his apartment on Saturday, and had The president had originally committed to quitting on Wednesday 13 July.
A source informed the BBC that Mr. Rajapaksa will not stay in the Maldives and plans to fly on to a third nation. His brother, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, has also departed Sri Lanka and is thought to be traveling to the US.
As Sri Lankans awakened to news of the president’s departure, hundreds of people flocked to the streets of the city, Colombo. Many gathered at Galle Face Green, the city’s primary protest spot. Some listened to furious statements at a makeshift platform put up for regular people to grab the mike.
Punctuated by screams of “Victory to the struggle”, the rallying cry of the protest movement, speakers raged against a government and the leaders they believe have failed them.
Others were upset at Mr. Rajapaksa’s departure, perceiving a lack of responsibility. “We don’t like it. We want to keep him. We want our money back! And we want to put all the Rajapaksas in an open jail where they can perform agricultural work,” stated protester GP Nimal.
But 23-year-old university student Reshani Samarakoon told the BBC that the former president’s exile provided “hope that in the future we might finally become a developed nation, economically and socially”.
Sri Lankans blame President Rajapaksa’s government for their worst economic catastrophe in decades.
For months they have been dealing with frequent power disruptions and shortages of necessities like gasoline, food, and medications.
The leader, who has protection from prosecution while he is president, is said to have sought to escape overseas before stepping down to avoid the risk of arrest by the next government.
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