Rajapaksa, family flee to Naval base

Rajapaksa, family flee to Naval base

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa


  • Former Prime Minister faces calls for arrest as eight killed in violence
  • Lanka faces violent protests across the nation over an economic crisis

Former Prime Minister faces calls for arrest as eight killed in violence Sri Lanka's former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family have taken shelter at a naval base in Trincomalee in the north-east part of the island nation, sources have told NDTV, as lethal protests continue amid the country's worst ever economic crisis.

The former Prime Minister and his family were flown in a helicopter to the naval base. They said protests have broken out outside the naval base too, some 270 km from the capital Colombo.

Sri Lanka deployed thousands of troops and police today to enforce a curfew after five people were killed in the worst violence in weeks of protests over the unprecedented economic crisis. Nearly 200 were also wounded as Rajapaksa resigned, but that did little to calm public anger.

He had to be rescued in a pre-dawn operation by the military today after thousands of anti-government protesters poured into his official residence in Colombo overnight, with police firing tear gas and warning shots to keep back the crowd.

"At least 10 petrol bombs were thrown into the compound," news agency AFP reported quoting a top security officer. The Rajapaksa clan's hold on power has been shaken by months of blackouts and shortages in Sri Lanka, the worst economic crisis since it became independent in 1948. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains in office, however, with widespread powers and command over the security forces.

Sri Lanka's main opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya, or SJB, rejected the President's offer to form interim government under him. Instead, the SJB has demanded the President's resignation.

Rajapaksa is facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protesters that claimed at least eight lives, left over 200 people injured and saw arson attacks on the homes of several politicians.

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