Sri Lanka’s president resigns after fleeing in wake of protests

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa   (REUTERS)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka’s President has emailed his resignation after months of protests over his government’s role in the collapse of the country’s economy, according to a government official.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the island on Wednesday after pressure from demonstrators who occupied the presidential palace.

Government official Indunil Yapa said on Thursday the speaker will make an official announcement of the resignation in the next 24 hours.

Sri Lankan protesters retreated from government buildings they seized and military troops reinforced security at the Parliament after the news of the resignation filtered through.

The former president, whose family ran the country for 20 years, is now believed to be in Singapore after originally jetting to the island paradise of the Maldives.

Months of protests reached a peak over the weekend when demonstrators stormed the president’s home and office and the official residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The protesters had demanded they both stand down and now the president has resigned they have left the Presidential palace and the streets are calm.

Protesters withdrew from the prime minister’s residence and the president’s, where some moved a red carpet they had rolled up back into place.

Others held a news conference to announce they were also pulling out of the prime minister’s office.

Activist Visaka Jayaweer told the Associated Press: “Taking over his residence was a great moment, it showed just how much we wanted him to step down. But it is also a great relief.

“We were worried if people would act out - many were angry to see the luxury they had been living in when they were outside, struggling to buy milk for their children.”

Until an alternative government is installed there could delay a hoped-for bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

In the meantime, the country is relying on aid from India and China.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting