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Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka’s beleaguered President blocked from leaving country by airport staff, senior military source says



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Aides for Rajapaksa arrived on the airport in Colombo on Monday with 15 passports belonging to the president and members of his household — together with First Girl Ioma Rajapaksa — who had booked seats on a Sri Lankan Airways flight leaving for Dubai at 6:25 p.m. native time, based on the army supply.

Immigration officers declined to course of the passports given to them by presidential aides, as Rajapaksa and his household weren’t bodily current for cross checks and, finally, the flight departed with out the president and his household on board, the supply added.

What's next for Sri Lanka as angry protesters occupy their leaders' luxury houses?

One other try was made to get the household on an Etihad flight scheduled to depart Colombo for Abu Dhabi at 9:20 p.m. native, based on the supply, nevertheless the identical downside occurred, because the Rajapaksas refused to queue for the flight and present up in particular person at immigration for passport checks.

In each cases, the Rajapaksa household was in a close-by airport lounge, ready for affirmation they might board with out queuing amongst members of the general public, the supply mentioned.

Rajapaksa is because of formally go away workplace on Wednesday, after being compelled to resign within the wake of months-long protests over the nation’s crippling financial disaster.

He agreed to step down on Saturday after greater than 100,000 individuals massed outdoors Rajapaksa’s residence and known as for his resignation. A few of the protesters then broke into the property and splashed around in his swimming pool.

Hanging pictures shared on social media confirmed demonstrators singing protest songs and chanting slogans calling for Rajapaksa to resign. Different images confirmed teams of demonstrators establishing barbecue pits to grill and prepare dinner meals.

Protesters take over the compound of Sri Lanka's Presidential Palace in Colombo on Saturday.

Rajapaksa’s present whereabouts inside Sri Lanka are unknown. On Tuesday, the Sri Lanka Air Drive (SLAF) denied that he’s at present staying in a non-public residence belonging to Air Drive Chief Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, based on a SLAF assertion.

The SLAF issued the denial after a video launched by a former police officer claimed that the President was staying in a non-public home belonging to the Air Drive Commander. The SLAF mentioned that there is no such thing as a fact behind the report and described it as propaganda meant to tarnish the picture of the SLAF and its chief.

The drastic escalation of unrest may spell the top of the Rajapaksa household’s political dynasty, which has dominated Sri Lanka for a lot of the previous 20 years.

His lack of ability to depart Sri Lanka has forged doubts over the timeline for him leaving workplace although, as his deliberate resignation would go away Rajapaksa with out presidential immunity — probably exposing him to a raft of authorized costs and lowered safety.

Rajapaksa stands accused of high-level corruption and financial mismanagement, which ultimately bankrupted the nation and triggered its worst monetary disaster since independence.