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Sri Lanka Ex-PM, family flee to Naval Base, surrounded by protesters: Sources

The former Prime Minister and his family were flown in a helicopter to the naval base

Sri Lanka Ex-PM, family flee to Naval Base, surrounded by protesters: Sources
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Sri Lanka's former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family have taken shelter at a naval base in Trincomalee in the north-east part of the island nation, sources have told , as lethal protests continue amid the country's worst ever economic crisis.

The former Prime Minister and his family were flown in a helicopter to the naval base, people with direct knowledge of the matter told sources.

They said protests have broken out outside the naval base too, some 270 km from the capital Colombo.

Sri Lanka deployed thousands of troops and police today to enforce a curfew after five people were killed in the worst violence in weeks of protests over the unprecedented economic crisis.

Nearly 200 were also wounded yesterday as Mr Rajapaksa resigned, but that did little to calm public anger.

He had to be rescued in a pre-dawn operation by the military today after thousands of anti-government protesters poured into his official residence in Colombo overnight, with police firing tear gas and warning shots to keep back the crowd.

The Rajapaksa clan's hold on power has been shaken by months of blackouts and shortages in Sri Lanka, the worst economic crisis since it became independent in 1948.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains in office, however, with widespread powers and command over the security forces.

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