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LIVE Updates: Emergency declared in Sri Lanka, protesters now demanding removal of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

Colombo: The chaos continues in Sri Lanka as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled to the Maldives. Meanwhile, the protesters have now intensified their demand for the removal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, emergency has been declared in the country. Thousands of protesters gheraoed the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

Here are the 10 latest updates about the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka:

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed acting president hours after 73-year-old Rajapaksa, who promised to resign on Wednesday, left the country. Now protests have started afresh there.

Wickremesinghe said that he has directed the security forces to impose emergency and curfew to normalize the situation. A committee of Chiefs of Armed Forces has been given the responsibility of doing this work in which there will be absolutely no political interference.

Anti-government protesters have become more violent. All these want the resignation of both the President and the Prime Minister due to the poor condition of the economy in the country.

Thousands of protesters, defying the emergency and waving Sri Lankan flags, gheraoed the prime minister’s office. Wickremesinghe said some protesting groups planned to capture the Prime Minister’s Office and surrounded the residence of the Air Force Commander when the Air Force plane was provided to the President to fly to the Maldives.

In crisis-hit Sri Lanka, the country’s state-run television channel ‘Rupavahini’ suspended broadcasts for some time on Wednesday. In fact, the protesters stormed its building. Less than an hour later, the broadcast of another state television channel was also stopped.

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The Maldivian government argues that Rajapaksa is still the President of Sri Lanka and has not resigned or delegated his powers to a successor. Therefore, if Rajapaksa wanted to visit the Maldives, it could not be ruled out, the sources said.

Maldivian government sources have said that fearing citizens, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested the Maldivian government to arrange a private jet to take him to Singapore. Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives without submitting his resignation.

On Wednesday itself, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka completely dismissed reports that he helped Rajapaksa to go to the Maldives as baseless.

The BBC reported quoting sources that Rajapaksa’s younger brother and former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa had also left the country. Earlier on Monday night, Rajapaksa and his brother Basil tried to leave the country amid growing public outcry against the family, but had to return from the airport.

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The Archbishop of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, on Wednesday urged all parties to maintain peace and exercise restraint. Also warned that during the turbulent situation, external forces can interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

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