Gotabaya Rajapaksa aboard ship in viral video amid reports he fled? Watch

Published on Jul 10, 2022 08:24 AM IST

Three men can be seen carrying suitcases in a viral video, running to load them on a ship - SLNS Gajabahu. Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was said to be aboard.

Sri Lanka crisis: The crisis escalated on Saturday.

Sri Lanka saw yet another day of political tumult on Saturday as the country's president and the prime minister were compelled to step down. By afternoon, soon after an unprecedented number of protesters stormed Gotabaya Rajapaksa's palace, reports emerged that he had fled. Hours later a video was widely shared, which according to some reports, had the Sri Lanka president aboard a ship.

A video clip that has been doing rounds on social media showed three men carrying suitcases and running to load them on the ship SLNS Gajabahu. The Sri Lankan president reportedly fled from his house Saturday afternoon after mobs – raising slogans of ‘Gota, go home’ – overran the building's compound.

As night fell, a statement was made public that he would resign on July 13. This was hours after Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would quit.

“Social media footage apparently filmed at #Colombo port shows luggage being loaded to #SriLanka @srilanka_navy ship SLNS GAJABAHU raising fears of a VVIP or a family is leaving the country. A voice in the background can be heard in Sinhala saying ‘Gota is leaving’,” read a tweet. Hindustan Times cannot independently verify this video.

Social media was awash with videos and photos of demonstrators walking into the Rajapaksa palace, entering all the rooms of the house and even jumping into the pool.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators were on the streets of Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo on Saturday, demanding the president's resignation after a months-long financial crisis that has crippled the island nation's food and fuel security. Agitators crossed the fences and barged into Rajapaksa’s palace, a sea-facing colonial-era building, showing unprecedented visuals from the island nation of 22 million. Police had initially attempted to thwart the protests with a curfew but then lifted it as lawyers and opposition politicians denounced it as illegal.

The island nation has suffered through months of food and fuel shortages, long blackouts and galloping inflation after running out of foreign currency to import vital goods.

The government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout and also received aid - line of credits to buy fuel, food, medical supplies and other essentials - from India, which has loaned over $3 billion worth already.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he will leave office once a new government is in place, while Rajapaksa is set to step down on July 13.

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