Sri Lankan president flies for Singapore from Maldives: reports
Male, Jul 14 (EFE).- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday took off for Singapore from Maldives, where he had arrived a day earlier fleeing his country amid a severe political crisis, local media reported
On Thursday morning Rajapaksa boarded a plane operated by a Saudi airlines at Male’s Velana international airport along with his wife, a police officer at the airport confirmed to EFE.
The leader had arrived in Maldives on a Sri Lanka Air Force plane on Wednesday along with his wife and two security guards, using his powers as the president of the island-nation.
Soon after Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka, the speaker of the parliament announced that he had appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the interim president and was set to resign soon, but the resignation did not occur.
Maldivian media outlets had reported that the Sri Lankan leader had planned to set off for Singapore on Wednesday evening itself, but the spotlight and surveillance at the capital’s airport delayed his plans.
Dozens of Sri Lankans had also protested in the Maldivian capital on Wednesday, asking for Rajapaksa’s resignation, although the protest was soon dispersed by security forces.
After the news of Rajapaksa’s departure spread, thousands of protesters returned to the streets in Sri Lanka demanding immediate resignations from the president and the prime ministers.
Although the interim president imposed a curfew in Colombo to try and control the situation, protesters again occupied several government facilities in a repeat of the weekend’s demonstrations, including the prime minister’s office.
On Tuesday, Sri Lanka’s airport authorities had prevented the president’s brother Basil Rajapaksa, the former finance minister, from boarding a plane to Dubai from a private section of the airport. EFE