Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has left Maldives and is in Singapore, the city-state’s foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday, reported PTI.

On Wednesday, Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards had left Sri Lanka for the Maldives, hours before he was due to step down from his post. The president has been facing widespread protests over his handling of the island nation’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

On Thursday, Rajapaksa boarded a flight of Saudi Arabian carrier Saudia from Male for Singapore, reported The Associated Press, citing unidentified officials.

Later, a spokesperson for Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that Rajapaksa has been “allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit”.

“He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum,” the spokesperson added. “Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.”

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that Rajapaksa is yet to submit his resignation, News First reported. He said that he has asked the president to submit his resignation, stating that he too is facing pressure from demonstrators.

Abeywardena added that the acting President is exploring legal options to force the president to vacate his post if he does not do so of his own accord. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was named as the acting president.

Protestors to leave official buildings

Meanwhile, protestors in Colombo said that they will leave official buildings, but will continue to press for Rajapaksa’s resignation, AFP reported.

“We are peacefully withdrawing from the Presidential Palace, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office with immediate effect, but will continue our struggle,” a spokesperson for the protestors said.

Earlier, a top Buddhist monk, Omalpe Sobitha, had also urged demonstrators to hand over the presidential palace back to the government, saying that the building was a national treasure which should be protected.

On Wednesday, Wickremesinghe had urged protestors who stormed his office and other government buildings to leave and to co-operate with officials. In a televised address, he had directed security personnel to do what was necessary to restore order.

Also read: Sri Lanka declares emergency as president flees

Earlier on Thursday, ANI showed visuals of protesters in the prime minister’s office in Colombo.

Curfew lifted

Meanwhile, authorities on Thursday morning lifted a curfew that was imposed in the Western Province a day earlier, PTI reported. The capital city of Colombo is located in the Western Province.

At least 84 persons were admitted to hospitals in the capital city after protestors clashed with security forces at the prime minister’s office and at a junction leading to the parliament.

Police personnel had fired tear gas and water cannons at the protestors.