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Sri Lanka Crisis: Gotabaya Rajapaksa had announced to step down on Wednesday after thousands of protesters overran his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis.

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is expected to resign today, arrived in Maldives early this morning in the wake of massive protests against him. He was received by the Maldivian government representatives at the Velana airport in Male.

Here are the top 10 updates on this big story

  1. Protesters took to the streets in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo demanding Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation as news emerged that he has fled to the Maldives. Security Forces used water cannons to disperse the crowd
  2. President Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards boarded a Male-bound military aircraft from Colombo international airport last night. Reports suggest that his younger brother and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa has also left the country.
  3. Defence officials of the island nation have told NDTV that Mr Rajapaksa requested them for a plane last night and that they were “obligated” to provide him one. Mr Rajapaksa continues to be the supreme commander of the defence forces as President. Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe’s office has also confirmed that the President has left the country.
  4. On arrival in the Maldives, President Rajapaksa, his wife and bodyguards were driven to an undisclosed location under police escort, an airport official in Male said.
  5. Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka today refuted the reports which claimed that India helped President Rajapaksa and his brother Basil flee to the Maldives. “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,” it tweeted.
  6. As president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa enjoys immunity from arrest, and he is believed to have wanted to go abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of being detained.
  7. He had promised to resign on Wednesday and clear the way for a “peaceful transition of power”. Sri Lanka’s political parties have stepped up efforts to form an all-party government and subsequently elect a new President on July 20.
  8. Earlier, both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Basil were turned back at the Colombo airport early Tuesday as they attempted to leave the country amid mounting anger against the Rajapaksa family for mishandling the island’s worst economic crisis.
  9. Sri Lanka is in the throes of a massive economic crisis over the past few months, and the protests reached a climax this weekend when protesters barged into the official residences of the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
  10. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has also announced that he will step down once an all-party government is ready to take over.
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