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Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lands in Singapore as private guest, not granted asylum

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in the city-state on board a Saudia Airlines flight from Maldives in the afternoon.(File photo)

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is on a private visit and has not been granted asylum, the Singapore government said today.

Mr Rajapaksa landed in the city-state on board a Saudia Airlines flight from Maldives in the afternoon.

"It is confirmed that Mr. Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit," Singapore's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.

"He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum," the statement read.

The Lankan President had left Colombo for Maldives late on Tuesday evening. Last night, he requested the Maldives government to arrange a private jet to fly him to Singapore, fearing public backlash, sources had said.

Before leaving Colombo, he had assured leaders that would send in his resignation. However, he has still not submitted his resignation because as president, Rajapaksa enjoys immunity from arrest.

In Sri Lanka, protesters demanded that he keep his promise to step down over the island nation's worst-ever economic crisis.

Meanwhile in Colombo, protesters vacated several of the emblematic state buildings they had overrun earlier this week.

Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency and asked security forces to restore order.

Gotabaya’s decision to leave Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in charge as acting President has led to more protests in Sri Lanka. The protesters with Sri Lanka flags had taken over the PM’s office and made it clear that they want Wickremesinghe to also resign.

Earlier his house in Colombo had been burnt and Wickremesinghe had said that he would also quit as Prime Minister.

The Lankan political leaders held an all-party meeting, where it was decided to let the parliament Speaker take over as the acting President.

The office of Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has been asked to step down, said the ruling party and the opposition must form an all-party government.

Also read: Protestors take over Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s residence amid chaos in Colombo