In the wake of the widespread violence in Sri Lanka that left eight people dead, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family took refuge at a naval base in Trincomalee on Tuesday after leaving Colombo under heavy security.
Rajapaksa, his wife Shiranthi, and their youngest son Rohitha and his family, left the Prime Minister’s official residence, Temple Trees, early on Tuesday morning on board an Air Force helicopter and have now taken refuge at the heavily guarded naval base, an informed military source said.
A protest began in front of Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Naval Base on Tuesday after reports emerged that former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and some of his family members were there after leaving the official residence in Colombo, a media report said. Nearly 250 people have also been injured in the violence in Colombo and other parts of the country. A curfew is in force across the island nation after mobs burned down the ancestral home belonging to the ruling Rajapaksa family amid mounting anger at the worst economic crisis. Though Mahinda Rajapaksa has quit as Prime Minister, this has failed to bring calm.
On Monday, protesters attacked the ancestral home of the Rajapaksas in Hambantota, the houses of 14 former Ministers, 18 lawmakers, including former Deputy Speaker, and leaders loyal to the Rajapaksa family.
Video footage showed the ancestral house of the Rajapaksa family in Medamulana in Hambantota city was burning.
Prime Minister Mahinda’s House in Kurunegala was also set on fire by protesters while a mob also destroyed D A Rajapaksa Memorial - constructed in the memory of the father of Mahinda and Gotabaya - in Medamulana, Hambantota.
Chairman of the Imaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha A V Sarath Kumara died following an attack on his residence on Monday. Kumara, 63, was admitted to the hospital due to a heart condition following the attack.
One person was killed following an attack on a popular hotel in Negombo. Multiple luxury cars worth millions of rupees were completely destroyed.
SLPP Member of Parliament Amarakeerthi Athukorala and his security guard died in Nittambuwa on Monday.
Eye-witnesses said that the people who had come with the Member of Parliament to Nittambuwa shot at a group of people protesting against the attack on the peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the President’s Office. A 27-year-old male died in the shooting incident.
Two people were killed in a shooting that took place at the Weeraketiya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman’s residence on Monday night.
A person succumbed to his injuries at the hospital in Colombo.
Several properties of Ministers and lawmakers of the ruling coalition were destroyed by the protesters.
Protesters also attacked the house of Badulla District parliamentarian Tissa Kuttiarachch and later set it on fire.
The house of Puttalam MP Santha Nishantha was completely destroyed due to an arson attack.
There have been protests over soaring prices and power cuts since last month. Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.
The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking the resignation of President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda, as the Government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.
In a special Cabinet meeting on Friday, President Gotabaya declared a state of emergency with effect from Friday midnight. This is the second time that an emergency was declared in Sri Lanka in just over a month as the island nation was in the grip of the worst economic crisis.