Lankans In Maldives Protest Against Rajapaksa

Sri Lankans residing in the Maldives staged a protest on Wednesday against ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

They demanded that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is currently at a resort in the Maldives, be sent back to Sri Lanka, reported Newswire.
Video footage shared by a social media user shows Sri Lankans staging a protest in the Maldives’ capital, Male.

The protesters are seen holding the Sri Lankan national flag and placards with anti-government slogans.

Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives with his family early this morning, despite stating that he will announce his resignation Wednesday, reported Newswire.

The public in Sri Lanka has been calling for the President’s resignation over the current economic crisis.

Apart from leaving the country without tendering his resignation, he has also appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Acting President.

Meanwhile, the Maldives media reports that Rajapaksa is set to leave for either Singapore or Dubai, UAE from the Maldives later Wednesday, reported Newswire.

Amid mayhem and chaos in Sri Lanka, acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed armed forces and police to bring the current situation under control.

Further, some of the protesters have stormed the premises of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister’s Office in Colombo.

Security personnel resorted to tear-gas shelling to drive away protestors on the streets of Colombo.

Wickremesinghe declared an emergency and imposed a curfew in the western province of the country as protests intensified following Rajapaksa’s escape to the Maldives.

A state of emergency was declared as protesters came prepared to face tear gas shelling by security forces deployed outside Wickremesinghe’s residence. Air patrolling also began around the PM’s residence.

The country’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said that the PM cannot exercise the powers of the President, and cannot declare a curfew or a state of emergency.

“PM becomes acting President only if the President appoints him as such, or if the office of President is vacant, or if the CJ in consultation with the Speaker forms the view that the President is unable to act,” Premadasa tweeted.

“In the absence of any of these, the PM cannot exercise the powers of President, and cannot declare curfew or a state of emergency,” he said in another tweet.

73-year-old Rajapaksa had gone into hiding after crowds of protesters stormed his residence on July 9 and he had announced that he will resign on July 13.

The country is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst-ever economic crisis with soaring inflation. (ANI)

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