Sri Lankan President Confirms Resignation to Parliament via Email

Sri Lankan President Confirms Resignation to Parliament via Email

Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised to tender his resignation on Wednesday.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a COP26 conference in Glasgow (Archives)

Shortly after arriving by plane in Singapore on Thursday, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced his resignation to parliament by email, AFP confirms.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan protesters withdrew from recently occupied public buildings, while promising to continue to pressure Prime Minister and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, successfully.

Witnesses saw dozens of people leave the prime minister's office on Thursday as armed law enforcement entered. Armored personnel carriers patrolled parts of the capital, which is under curfew.

We are peacefully withdrawing from the presidential palace, the presidential secretariat and the prime minister's offices with immediate effect, but we will continue our fight, said a spokeswoman for the protesters earlier.

Hours before the withdrawal was announced, police pushed back protesters trying to enter parliament.

The army and the police received new orders on Thursday to firmly suppress any violence.

The protesting crowd invaded the offices of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday after doing the same in the palace of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday, forcing him to flee abroad.

< p class="e-p">Nearly 85 people were injured in the clashes and one man died of tear gas suffocation.

Hundreds of thousands of people visited the palace presidential since it opened to the public after Mr. Rajapaksa fled on Saturday.

Security guards stand guard inside the President's Palace after protesters are evacuated.< /p>

Thursday afternoon, the gates of the building were locked and guarded by armed men.

Earlier in the day, Gihan Martyn, a 49-year-old shopkeeper accused the president of playing for time.

He is a coward, he growled in front of the presidential palace, he ruined our country with the Rajapaksa family, so we don't trust him at all. We need a new government.

The army and police received new orders on Thursday to firmly suppress any violence, and warned troublemakers that they were rightfully entitled to exert their force.

Nothing to scare Chirath Chathuranga Jayalath, 26-year-old student: You can't stop these protests by killing people. They will shoot us in the head, but we do this with our hearts, he assured.

Mr. Rajapaksa had promised to resign on Wednesday.

The resignation letter was prepared, the source told AFP, as soon as he gave the green light, the President of Parliament will publish it.

After a day's stopover in the Maldives, Mr. Rajapaksa indeed flew to Singapore, with his wife Ioma and two bodyguards, on board a Saudia commercial flight. They were escorted onto the plane a few minutes before takeoff.

The Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa upon arrival at Changi Airport in Singapore

The head of state, according to local press, had initially demanded a private jet, refusing to take a commercial flight with other passengers because of the hostile reception he received. ;he had received on his arrival in the Maldives on Wednesday.

He had been jeered at and insulted as he left Velana airport and a demonstration was organized in the capital Malé to ask the Maldivian government not to allow him to transit safely.

The Maldivian media reports that Mr. Rajapaksa spent the night at the luxury Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi hotel, and parallels this opulence with the economic crisis that the Sri Lankan population is going through, the worst in its history.

According to diplomatic sources, the United States denied him a visa application because he renounced his American citizenship in 2019 before he was a presidential candidate.

Singapore will not be his final destination. The city-state said Mr. Rajapaksa was on a private visit.

He did not seek asylum and no asylum was granted to him. Singapore does not generally accept asylum applications, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Sri Lankan security sources say Rajapaksa is looking to stay in Singapore for some time before heading to the United Arab Emirates.

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