Protesters Chased Him Out But Sri Lanka’s Ex-President Is Back and Living in a Mansion

sri lanka, gotabaya rajapaksa, anti-government protest, arrest, war crimes, corruption

A billboard announces the return of ousted former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who ended his self-imposed exile in Thailand and came back to the island on September 4. Photo: Amal Jayasinghe / AFP

Sri Lanka’s former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who hastily fled his country as protesters took over his mansion less than two months ago, has returned. 

On Saturday, Rajapaksa ended weeks of speculation around his return, and was greeted at the same international airport where he had struggled to get his passport stamped when he was trying to flee the country in July. This time, he was welcomed with flowers by a group of ministers, a massive motorcade, and giant billboards announcing, “I’m back.” 

Sri Lankan officials told the media that he has been provided with an official residence, a special security detail and other privileges usually accorded to the country’s former presidents. Local media reported a state-owned bungalow in the capital city Colombo reserved for him, which will be guarded with a large security contingent. 

Rajapaksa’s return has reignited fury among activists and protesters who had carried out one of the country’s largest anti-government protests in recent times. 

Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans accused the 73-year-old politician of running the country’s economy to the ground with not just bad policies, but also large-scale corruption. That was on top of Rajapaksa’s alleged war crimes against the Tamil ethnic minority during the country’s 27-year civil war that ended in 2009. He was the defence chief at the time. 

On July 13, protesters stormed his mansion in Colombo but Rajapaksa and his wife Ioma fled the country hours beforehand. Since then, the couple had been spending time in the Maldives, Singapore and Thailand on temporary visitor visas. After Rajapaksa’s exit, politician Ranil Wickremesinghe became the country’s new president, who immediately launched a violent crackdown on protesters. Critics accuse him of protecting the Rajapaksa family. 

As protesters demand Rajapaksa’s arrest, his nephew Namal Rajapaksa told the media that his uncle has “his right to live as a citizen in the country.” Namal himself has been accused of corruption. 

Some members of Rajapaksa’s party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna are keen to offer him a seat in the parliament. Politician Anuradha Jayaratne told the media that they would urge Rajapaksa to get “involved with the next generation so he can share his experiences with them.”

Follow Pallavi Pundir on Twitter.

Subscribe to the VICE newsletter.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.

Read More


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Buy valid Drivers License Online, Buy Real EU Driver's License Online, Buy Fake Driver's License, Buy Registered Driver's License Online, Buy Real Driver's License Online, Buy Real Passport Online, Buy Real EU Passport Online, Buy Legal Passport Online, Buy USA Passport Online, Buy Passport Online, Buy fake passport online, Buy International ID Cards, Buy ID Cards Online National Identity Card Online, How Russian Driver's license Online, Buy German Resident permit online, Buy Registered marriage Certificate, Buy Original birth Certificate, Buy Covid 19 vaccination card , Buy EU ID card online , Buy fake documents online, Buy Euro Banknotes online, Buy High Grade Counterfeit, Buy fake dollar bank notes, Buy Undetectable Counterfeit Banknotes, Buy Counterfeit Money Online, Buy Fake Notes Online, Real Resident Permit Cards, Resident Permit Card , Buy Real Resident Permit Card Online