Sri Lanka crisis: Did immigration staff block President Rajapaksa's exit?
The president and his wife spent the night at a military post near the main international airport. Immigration agents refused to go to the VIP suite to stamp his passport, and the President insisted on not using the public restrooms for fear of retaliation from other airport passengers.
As Sri Lanka's political and economic crisis intensifies, members of the Rajapaksa family are said to be attempting to flee the country. However, immigration officials have so far prevented President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa from flying to the United Arab Emirates.
According to reports, he arrived at the check-in counter at 12.15 a.m. and remained there until 3.15 a.m. because immigration officers refused to clear him. According to the reports, he was finally forced to depart the airport after immigration agents refused to clear him. The Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Officers Association informed Reuters that its members refused to serve Basil Rajapaksa at the airport's VIP departure lounge.
After missing four aircraft that would have brought them to the United Arab Emirates, the president and his wife spent the night at a military post near the main international airport. Immigration agents refused to go to the VIP suite to stamp his passport, and the President insisted on not using the public restrooms for fear of retaliation from other airport passengers.
Rajapaksa has immunity from arrest as President and is said to want to travel overseas before stepping down (perhaps on Wednesday) to avoid being detained. The 73-year-old commander sought sanctuary in a navy facility before being transferred to the Katunayake airfield, which shares a perimeter fence with the country's largest airport, Bandaranaike International.
Sri Lanka has been in the grip of a huge economic crisis for some months, and riots erupted last weekend when protestors stormed the President's official mansion. The President had been relocated out of his mansion as a result of intelligence information.
The previous several days have produced disturbing images of demonstrators entering the President's mansion. According to rumours, they discovered millions of dollars in cash as well as a secret bunker. Social media images show demonstrators soaking in the pool and cooking in the kitchen after seizing the President's mansion.