Amid crisis, Sri Lanka president flees on naval ship, hints video: Report

Published on Jul 09, 2022 04:45 PM IST

However, there are some visuals on social media that show men running to load what looks like luggage on a naval vessel.

Police use tear gas shells to disperse demonstrators taking part in an anti-government protest demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.(AFP)
Police use tear gas shells to disperse demonstrators taking part in an anti-government protest demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.(AFP)

Angered by Sri Lanka's economic woes, thousands stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence in Colombo on Saturday, forcing him to flee in haste while soldiers armed with assault rifles fired in the air to hold back the mob. The whereabouts of the president are not known yet; according to Bloomberg he left his residence at about 10 am local time.

However, there are some visuals on social media that show men running to load what looks like luggage on a naval vessel. The video was shared by local news website Daily Mirror, with the caption: "Footage circulated on social media claim luggage belonging to the President was hurriedly packed into a Navy Ship (SLNS Gajabahu) at Colombo Port."

Hindustan Times cannot independently verify the video and claim made in the tweet.

Meanwhile, other visuals on social media showed protesters storming the president's residence while chanting 'Gota (the president's nickname) go home'.

Outside the building, barricades were overturned and a black flag was hoisted on a pole.

Protesters have been demanding the resignation of the president over the past few months, with several of the agitations turning violent. So far Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been defiant and held on to power, despite his brother Mahinda being forced to quit as prime minister and other members of his family resign from the cabinet and other high-ranking positions.

Sri Lanka’s economy is on the verge of collapse as it battles crushing debt levels resulting in scarce supplies of fuel and other essentials. It is now dependent on aid from India and other countries while its leaders negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.

The turmoil has led to months of protests that have nearly dismantled the Rajapaksa political dynasty that has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades. Earlier in May, Rajapksa appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to help steer the country out of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the parliament speaker is expected to chair a meeting shortly to decide on a plan of action to resolve the situation, Bloomberg reported.

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