Ship boat

Gotabaya Rajapaksa aboard ship in viral video amid reports he fled? Watch | world news

Sri Lanka experienced another day of political tumult on Saturday as the country’s president and prime minister were forced to resign. In the afternoon, shortly after an unprecedented number of protesters stormed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s palace, reports surfaced that he had fled. Hours later, a video was widely shared, which some reports said had the Sri Lankan president aboard a ship.

A video clip that made the rounds on social media showed three men carrying suitcases and running to load them onto the SLNS Gajabahu vessel. The Sri Lankan president reportedly fled his home on Saturday afternoon after crowds – brandishing slogans “Gota, go home” – stormed the compound of the building.

As night fell, a statement was released that he would step down on July 13. This was hours after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced he would step down.

“Social media footage apparently filmed at the port of #Colombo shows luggage being loaded onto the #SriLanka @srilanka_navy SLNS GAJABAHU vessel raising concerns that a VVIP or family may be leaving the country. A voice in the background can be heard in Sinhalese saying ‘Gota is leaving’,” a tweet read. Hindustan Times cannot independently verify this video.

Social media was flooded with videos and photos of protesters entering the Rajapaksa Palace, entering every room in the house and even jumping into the swimming pool.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on Saturday, demanding the president’s resignation after a months-long financial crisis crippled the island nation’s food and energy security. Agitators broke through the fences and stormed into Rajapaksa Palace, a colonial-era building facing the sea, showing unprecedented visuals of the island nation of 22 million people. Police initially tried to thwart the protests with a curfew but later lifted it as opposition lawyers and politicians denounced it as illegal.

The island nation has suffered for months of food and fuel shortages, long power cuts and runaway inflation after running out of foreign currency to import vital goods.

The government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund about a bailout and also received aid – a line of credit to buy fuel, food, medical supplies and other essentials – from the government. India, which has already lent more than $3 billion.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he will step down once a new government is in place, while Rajapaksa is expected to step down on July 13.


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