Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family took refuge at a naval base in Trincomalee after leaving Colombo under heavy security on Tuesday following violent protests on Monday.
Rajapaksa, his wife Shiranthi, and their youngest son Rohitha and his family, left the Prime Minister's official residence, Temple Trees, early Tuesday morning on board an Air Force helicopter and have now taken refuge at the heavily guarded naval base, military sources said.
Rajapaksa's second son, Yositha, who was also the former Prime Minister's Secretary, and his family had reportedly left the country on Monday.
Following Rajapaksa's resignation on Monday and the ensuing violence started by the pro-government protesters, the anti-government demonstrators surrounded Temple Trees and tried to forcibly enter the premises.
Army troops were rushed for Rajapaksha’s protection and the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the violent mob.
In retaliation, the protesters torched vehicles parked outside the residence and the military resorted to shooting in the air.
At least five people, including an MP, were killed and over 200 others injured as a result of the violence.
The island nation, hit by the most severe economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, is currently without a government and Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to summon Parliament immediately.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has urged the opposition to form an all-party government, but the latter has refused to do so until he steps down.
On Monday, trade unions launched an indefinite nationwide strike demanding the President to resign.