Mahinda won’t flee the country – Namal


Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned as Prime Minister after his supporters attacked anti-Government protesters and sparked a day of violence will not flee the country, MP Namal Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa had to be evacuated by the military from his official residence on Monday night after it was besieged by an angry crowd. But his son Namal Rajapaksa, himself once touted as a future national leader, said the Rajapaksa family had no plans to leave Sri Lanka despite weeks of protests demanding they relinquish power.

“There are a lot of rumours that we are going to leave. We will not leave the country,” he said, describing the surge of national anger against his family as a ‘bad patch.’

He added that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not step down as a lawmaker and wanted to play an active role in choosing his successor.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was taken to an undisclosed location after protesters on 9 May night breached the compound fence at Temple Trees, his official residence in the capital Colombo. “My father is safe, he is at a safe location and he is communicating with the family,” said Namal Rajapaksa, who served as the country’s Sports Minister until a Cabinet shake-up last month.

Weeks of overwhelmingly peaceful protests against the Government’s mismanagement of the crisis turned violent on Monday when supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa were bussed into the capital from the countryside and attacked demonstrators.

Namal Rajapaksa said his family believed that Sri Lankans had a right to protest. “We will always stand by our people,” he added.