Sri Lanka crisis LIVE: Sri Lankan protesters get free path to PM’s office as army, STF stand down

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Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flew out of the country to the Maldives early Wednesday before stepping down from his post. He had promised to resign on Wednesday and clear the way for a “peaceful transition of power”, after fleeing his official residence in Colombo just before thousands of protesters overran it.

As president, 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.

He, his wife and a bodyguard were among four passengers on board an Antonov-32 military aircraft which took off from the main international airport heading for the neighbouring Maldives, according to immigration sources.

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