Disgraced Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flees to Maldives and Gets Worst Welcome Ever
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned on Wednesday following massive nationwide protests over rampant political corruption and the dismal economic crisis that has plagued the country in recent months.
Rajapaksa’s resignation was the culmination of a tumultuous week in Sri Lanka the city of Colombo. The protesters – many of whom blamed the former president for the country’s economic collapse – broke into the official presidential residence, where they took pictures of themselves napping on the couch. him, showering in his bathroom, and even swimming in his pool.
After announcing his resignation, the former president briefly took an overnight flight to the Maldives with his brother and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was declared acting president of the country to replace him.
But if it is peace and quiet, the former president is looking for Maldives island, he was in a rude awakening.
Upon arrival, Rajapaksa was met with protests in the nation’s capital Malé, where dozens of people had gathered to condemn the Maldivian government’s decision to welcome the former president.
The protests, which took place across the nation’s islands — including in front of the Maldivian president’s house — are said to have turned violent as local police tried to disperse crowds, including those of Protesters carried banners that read: “Dear Maldivian friends, call on your government not to protect criminals. “
Some Maldivian legislators have even been vocal about the decision to grant asylum to the former president, with one member of the Maldives Radical Party calling it a “betrayal” of the closely allied nation. their tight, according to The Deccan Herald.
Meanwhile, back in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa’s resignation is unlikely to provide much relief to the thousands of citizens who are demanding a complete cleanup from the government. The decision to appoint Chancellor Wickremesinghe – who has faced corruption charges of his own – as acting president, sparked another series of riots with hundreds of protesters storming the presidential palace on Wednesday .
“This is the Rajapaksa style of democracy. It’s a joke. What a tragedy,” said Sajith Premadasa, leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition party, of the decision in a tweet.
Wednesday’s protests got so hot that Wickremesinghe imposed a nationwide curfew. He also asked the military to do “whatever is necessary” to restore order in the country.
“We must end this fascist threat to democracy… we cannot allow the destruction of state property. The office of the president, the secretariat of the president and the official residence of the prime minister must be returned to proper supervision,” he said. “We cannot allow the fascists to take over. Some mainstream politicians also appear to be supporting these extremists. That is why I have declared a nationwide state of emergency and a curfew.”
According to local media, former Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa is staying at a Waldorf Astoria resort in the Maldives, but eventually plans to settle down in Singapore.