SUITCASES LOADED ON SRI LANKA NAVY SHIP AS PRESIDENT FLEES

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Sri Lanka’s President-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The visuals show three men carrying large suitcases onto the Sri Lanka Navy ship Gajabahu

New Delhi: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence today as thousands of anti-government protesters barged into his residence demanding his resignation. Amid the chaos, videos emerged of suitcases being loaded on a Sri Lanka Navy ship. Local media claims that the suitcases were of President Rajapaksa.

The visuals show three men carrying large suitcases onto the ship SLNS Gajabahu. The three men are in a hurry and can be seen running in the video.

“The Harbour Master at the Colombo Port said that a group boarded the SLNS Sindurala and SLNS Gajabahu and left the port,” News1 Channel reported.

He said he cannot provide details of the manifest or about those who boarded the vessels, the channel said.

Last night, the President had been shifted to the Army headquarters last night, a top government source said.

Earlier today, private broadcasters also showed what appeared to be a vehicle convoy belonging to the president at Sri Lanka’s main international airport, but there was no confirmation on whether he had left the island.

Rajapaksa’s current whereabouts are unknown and protesters have now occupied both his office and official residence.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.

Thousands of people had poured into the capital for Saturday’s demonstration, the latest outbreak of unrest sparked by the crisis.

Footage broadcast live on social media showed hundreds of people walking through the presidential palace, with some among the boisterous crowd jumping into the compound’s pool for a swim.

At least 30 people, including two policemen, were injured in clashes between security personnel and protesters – some of them holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets – who had gathered in large numbers in the Fort area.

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