Impeached Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, faced calls for his arrest Saturday after returning home from self-imposed exile under the protection of his successor’s government.
Rajapaksa fled the island nation under military escort in July after a huge crowd stormed his official residence following months of demonstrations sparked by an unprecedented economic crisis.
The 73-year-old announced his resignation from Singapore and spent weeks under virtual house arrest at a Bangkok hotel before his return late on Friday.
Leaders of the protest campaign that toppled his government said Rajapaksa, who lost his presidential immunity after leaving office, should now be brought to justice.
Gotabaya returned because no country is willing to accept him, he has no place to hide,” the leader of a teachers’ trade union that helped mobilise demonstrators, Joseph Stalin, told AFP.
“He should be arrested immediately for causing such misery for the 22 million people of Sri Lanka,” he added. “He can’t live freely as if nothing has happened.”
Rajapaksa’s government was accused of chaotic mismanagement as the Sri Lankan economy spiralled into a blistering downturn.
The crisis saw acute shortages of food, lengthy blackouts and long queues at gas stations for scarce fuel supplies after the country ran out of foreign currency to pay for vital imports.