As Sri Lanka looks at solutions, protesters leave offices

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Sri Lankan protesters who occupied official buildings to push their demands for a new government said on Thursday they would voluntarily vacate the offices while Parliament seeks a solution.

Protest leader Devinda Kodagode told The Associated Press about the move Thursday after the Parliament speaker announced that he is seeking legal options after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country without submitting a resignation letter.

Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka on Wednesday for the Maldives after promising over the weekend he would resign. He made the prime minister acting president in his absence — a move that further roiled passions among a public that blames Rajapaksa for an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of food and fuel.

A Maldives government official said Thursday that Rajapaksa was leaving the archipelago nation on a Saudi Airlines plane that flies to Singapore and then to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.