Home » Sri Lanka crisis live news: State of emergency as president flees

Sri Lanka crisis live news: State of emergency as president flees

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The Sri Lankan prime minister’s office has confirmed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the country. Rajapaksa, 73, left for the Maldives hours before he was expected to resign amid widespread protests over his handling of a devastating economic crisis. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency across the island nation. Hundreds of protesters in Colombo continue to occupy the official residences of the president and the prime minister after both buildings were stormed on Saturday. Sri Lanka is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Here are the latest developments:

22 mins ago (06:29 GMT) ‘Island-wide state of emergency’ declared: PM’s office

A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office has said “an islandwide state of emergency has been declared with immediate effect” in Sri Lanka.

A curfew was also declared in the Western Province, where Colombo is located, spokesperson Shanuka Karunaratne.

sri lankaProtesters shout slogans against president Gotabaya Rajapaksa outside his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka [Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press]

48 mins ago (06:02 GMT)

Protesters ‘waiting to see’ what president is going to do

Reporting from Colombo, Al Jazeera Step Vaessen said protesters are waiting for Rajapaksa’s official resignation.

They have given a deadline for 1pm local (5:30 GMT).

“They want an official formal resignation, which they don’t have so far. If that’s not been given, they will take to the streets massively again like what we saw last Saturday when… hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans came to Colombo and stormed the presidential residency and the prime minister’s house was burnt,” she said.

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1 hour ago (05:48 GMT) Key members of Sri Lanka’s ruling party want PM as president: Report

Key members of Sri Lanka’s ruling party are keen to back Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as their presidential nominee though no decision has been taken yet, a top ruling party source has told Reuters news agency.

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the members met on Tuesday evening and their “overwhelming consensus” was for Wickremesinghe to replace President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled to the Maldives after protesters stormed his residence on Saturday.

Protesters have also demanded the resignation of Wickremesinghe, who himself has offered to resign as prime minister to make way for a unity government.

Sri Lanka's new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.Protesters have also called for the resignation of Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe [File: Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press] 1 hour ago (05:42 GMT) Protesters march on prime minister’s office

Protesters marching towards Prime Minister Wickremesinghe office have been tear gassed and several have sustained injuries.

“At least 1500 protesters have gathered and we are urging (Wickremesinghe) also to resign immediately,” protest leader Shabeer Mohamed told Al Jazeera.

“If (he) doesn’t resign we wouldn’t hand over the buildings we occupied and continue our protest,” he said.

“At the meeting with the party leaders yesterday, the opposition parties also agree that the prime minister should go. It is one of our 6 key demands of the ‘aragalaya’,” he added, using the Sinhala word for “struggle” which has been used to describe the protest movement.

Sri Lanka crisisA protester waves a national flag outside president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office in Colombo, Sri Lanka [Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press]

2 hours ago (05:02 GMT)

India denies it helped Sri Lankan leader escape

India “categorically denies baseless and speculative media reports” that it helped Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa escape to another country, India’s High Commission in Sri Lanka has tweeted.

“It is reiterated that India will continue to support the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established democratic institutions and constitutional framework,” the tweet said.

High Commission categorically denies baseless and speculative media reports that India facilitated the recent reported travel of @gotabayar @Realbrajapaksa out of Sri Lanka. It is reiterated that India will continue to support the people of Sri Lanka (1/2)

— India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) July 13, 2022

2 hours ago (04:57 GMT)

President’s resignation may reach Speaker by midday

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker could receive President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation letter by midday on Wednesday, an official from the speaker’s office told Al Jazeera, after the leader fled to the Maldives following widespread protests.

“The Speaker is yet to receive the president’s resignation. It is expected he’d receive it during the day, today,” the official said. “The Speaker would inform the media, and the general paublic, as soon as he receives it.”

Protesters have warned of a “decisive fight” if both Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe did not resign by the afternoon.

2 hours ago (04:38 GMT)

Sri Lankans continue to visit President’s House

On Wednesday morning, Sri Lankans continued to stream into the colonial-era President’s House.

A growing line of people waited to enter the residence, many of whom had traveled from outside Colombo on public transport.

“What Rajapaksa did – flee the country – is a timid act,” said Bhasura Wickremesinghe, a 24-year-old student of maritime electrical engineering, who came with friends.

“I am not celebrating. There is no point celebrating. We have nothing in this country at the moment.”

Sri Lanka crisisProtesters shout slogans against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa outside his office in Colombo [Eranga Jayawardena/AP]

3 hours ago (04:17 GMT)

When will the Sri Lankan president resign?

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled to the Maldives, is not expected to resign until after he reaches his final destination, sources tell Al Jazeera.

The president would most likely proceed to another Asian country from the Maldives, a government source said.

Saman Ekanayake, secretary to the prime minister, was told that the presidential secretariat is yet to receive his letter of resignation.

As a result, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has not made any preparation to take oath as temporary president, a source from the prime minister’s office told Al Jazeera.

3 hours ago (03:52 GMT) Sri Lanka president flees to the Maldives

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards flew on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane to Male, the capital of the Maldives, the Sri Lankan Air Force confirmed in a statement to Al Jazeera.

The president’s flight brings an end to the rule of the powerful Rajapksa clan that has dominated politics in the South Asian nation for the last two decades.

Read more here.

Additional reporting by Saroj Pathirana from Colombo, Sri Lanka

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