NEW DELHI: The whereabouts of embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are unknown hours after he allegedly fled from his official residence ahead of Saturday’s protests during which thousands of irate anti-government protesters stormed the premises in Colombo.
#WATCH | Sri Lanka: People gather in large numbers outside the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo as the beleaguer… https://t.co/LafDxq7xvV— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1657366471000
Rajapaksa, who was facing calls for resignation since March, was using the President’s House as his residence and office since protesters came to occupy the entrance to his office early April.
According to sources, the President had been moved out of his residence on Friday, in anticipation of Saturday’s protests. His whereabouts was unknown as protesters have now occupied both his office and official residence.
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Earlier, a viral video on social media showed a VIP motorcade reaching the Colombo international airport where a Sri Lanka Airlines aircraft was parked.
At least 30 people, including two policemen, were injured in clashes between security personnel and protesters – some of them holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets – who had gathered in large numbers in the Fort area, demanding President Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Footage circulated on Social Media claim that luggage belonging to the President was hurriedly packed into a Navy S… https://t.co/ao9SOtAi72— DailyMirror (@Dailymirror_SL) 1657356826000
Protesters who climbed the walls of the President’s House are now occupying it.
Video footage from inside the building showed hundreds of protesters packing into rooms and corridors, while hundreds also milled around the grounds outside.
Some video clips showed scores of people taking a dip in the presidential palace pool.
A group of his own parliamentarians have addressed a letter to President Rajapaksa, urging him to step down and appoint a new Prime Minister and an all-party government.
(With inputs from agencies)