NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, hours before he was scheduled to resign, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country after a populist movement over a severe economic crisis toppled his family’s stronghold over the island nation.
Thousands of protesters gathered at the major demonstration site in Colombo as word of the president’s escape spread, screaming “Gota thief, Gota thief”—a nickname for him.
Numerous people surrounded the prime minister’s office and clamoured for Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign.The president’s flight ends the control of the powerful Rajapaksa dynasty, which has commanded politics in the South Asian nation for the past 20 years.
Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as interim president, has proclaimed a state of emergency and enforced a curfew in the western region.
Early on Wednesday, a Sri Lankan Air Force plane carrying Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife, and two bodyguards departed from the primary international airport close to Colombo, according to a statement from the air force.