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International media reported that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled. Angry demonstrators stormed his house on Saturday. He has been in hiding ever since. The Associated Press reported that the president boarded a plane with his wife and two bodyguards to Mali, the capital of the Maldives.
Sri Lanka has been unstable for some time and there are large anti-government demonstrations on a regular basis. The demonstrators held the government responsible for the deep economic crisis the country is going through and have been demanding his departure for some time. There are major shortages of food, fuel, and medicine, among other things. Inflation has risen to very high levels, causing historically large budget deficits.
According to the BBC, not only the president has fled. His brother, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, is also said to have fled the country. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is also expected to leave Sri Lanka, according to the BBC.
I promised to leave already
After storming Rajapaksa’s official residence and burning down the Prime Minister’s house last Saturday, the president has already vowed to resign. He was supposed to do it later today.
It is not yet clear why Rajapaksa decided to flee the country prematurely. Perhaps this was to prevent him from being arrested by the new government. As long as he is president, he is immune from prosecution.
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