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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa tried to flee his country during the economic collapse, but airport officials prevented him.
Gotobaya and his wife tried to board a plane on Tuesday after protesters broke into his home over the weekend, but he did not go through customs with the general public and immigration officials refused to enter the VIP lounge to stamp his passport. Agence France-Presse reported.
Many blame Rajapaksa for the country’s economic downturn, which led to shortages of food, fuel, and medicine, as well as a default on the country’s international debt. inflation in the country reached 54.6% in June.
Since March, protests have been held, during which demonstrators demand the resignation of the president due to collapsing economy. This led Rajapaksa to announce that he would step down from his post on Wednesday, but according to AFP, he is believed to have initially wanted to leave the country so he could not be arrested once he lost official immunity.
The future ex-president and his wife stopped at a nearby military base after they missed four flights to the US. United Arab Emirates. His younger brother Basil also missed the flight due to resistance.
“There were other passengers who protested that Vasily boarded their flight,” an airport spokesman said. “It was a tense situation, so he hurriedly left the airport.”
Over the weekend, the riots reached the point of no return Asian Island State, when protesters took over his presidential palace. The demonstrators were seen holding house parties and swimming in the pool. They also set fire to the prime minister’s house.
After his resignation, Gotobaya will be replaced by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but he also said he would step down as soon as the country’s lawmakers form a new government. Officials said a new president would be elected next week.
It is expected that nominations for the presidency will be presented on July 19, and the next day the country’s parliament will hold a secret ballot. Whoever is chosen will serve until the end of the current presidential term in 2024.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.