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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa tried to flee his country during an economic collapse, but airport staff wouldn’t let him.

Gotobaya and his wife tried to catch a flight on Tuesday after protesters stormed his home over the weekend, but failed to clear customs with the general public and immigration officers refused to go. in a VIP suite to stamp his passport, Agence France-Presse reported.

Rajapaksa has been blamed by many for the country’s economic decline, which has led to shortages of food, fuel and medicine and the default of the country’s international debt. The country’s inflation it reached 54.6% in June.

Protests have been underway since March in which protesters have called for the resignation of the president due to the failure of the economy. This led Rajapaksa to announce that he will step down from office on Wednesday, but according to the AFP the belief is that he wanted to leave the country first so that he cannot be arrested once he loses his official immunity.

PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKAN AND PRIME MINISTER RESIGNED AFTER Protesters stormed residences and set fire

Protesters, many of whom carried Sri Lankan flags, gather outside the president’s office in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday, July 9, 2022. On Saturday, Sri Lankan protesters stormed the residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the nearby office as tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Colombo in the largest demonstration ever to vent their fury against a leader they believe responsible for the island nation’s worst economic crisis. (AP Photo / Thilina Kaluthotage)
(Photo AP / Thilina Kaluthotage)

The future former president and his wife ended up staying at a nearby military base after missing four flights to the UAE. His younger brother Basil also missed a flight after facing opposition.

“There were other passengers who protested Basil’s boarding their flight,” an airport official told the outlet. “It was a tense situation, so he quickly left the airport.”

SRI LANKA ORDER FORCES TO SHOOT VIOLENT ACTORS AMONG THE PROTESTS

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a swimming pool inside the Sri Lankan Presidential Palace complex in Colombo on July 9, 2022. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a swimming pool inside the Sri Lankan Presidential Palace complex in Colombo on July 9, 2022. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Over the weekend, unrest reached a tipping point in the Asian island nation as protesters invaded its presidential palace. Demonstrators could be seen partying in the house and swimming in the pool. They also set fire to the prime minister’s house.

After his resignation, Gotobaya would be replaced by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but he too has said he will step down once the country’s lawmakers form a new government. Officials said a new president will be elected next week.

Police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday, July 9, 2022. Sri Lankan protesters calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made their way into his official residence on Saturday, a local television report, as thousands of people took to the streets in the capital denouncing the island nation's worst economic crisis in recent memory.  (AP Photo / Amitha Thennakoon)

Police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday, July 9, 2022. Sri Lankan protesters calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made their way into his official residence on Saturday, a local television report, as thousands of people took to the streets in the capital denouncing the island nation’s worst economic crisis in recent memory. (AP Photo / Amitha Thennakoon)

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Nominations for the presidency are expected to be presented on July 19, with a secret vote by the country’s parliament the next day. Whoever is chosen will remain in office until the end of the current presidential term in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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