No, these political leaders and diplomats have not been arrested

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he will step down following demonstrations by protesters demanding his resignation.

Some social media users who seem to believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory are pointing to this power shift as proof of long-awaited arrests.

“Resigned or arrested? reads the caption of a July 11 Facebook post. The message lists several people in addition to Rajapaksa: “Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe”, “Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas’ Liberal Reform Party”, “Ukrainian (sic) Ambassador to Germany Andri Melnyk”, (sic ) “Ukrainian (sic) delegate to Hungary Liubov Nepop”, “Ukrainian Ambassador to Norway Viacheslav Yatsiuk” and “Ukrainian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Yevhen Perebyinis”.

It includes an image of a hand holding a hammer emblazoned with the letter Q and the words “Justice is coming”.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)

There has been speculation that the President of Sri Lanka is trying to flee the country to avoid detention, but we have found no evidence that he and others mentioned in the post have been arrested.

The prime minister’s office in Sri Lanka said Rajapaksa announced he would step down on July 13, the BBC reported, although the president has yet to formally do so. Protesters stormed his official residence and that of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and said they would not leave until the men relinquished power. Wickremesinghe also said he would step down, but The New York Times reported on July 10 that he and the president were in hiding.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced on July 8 that his liberal reform party had reached an agreement after months of negotiations to form a majority coalition in parliament, according to Reuters. Kallas said she would step down at a later date and be reappointed by the new majority as she forms the new cabinet.

The Ukrainians mentioned in the message no longer serve as ambassadors. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy removed them from office, according to a July 9 report by Ukrinform, Ukraine’s national news agency. Ukrinform did not provide any details of the layoffs. But the New York Times reported that Andriy Melnyk, the ambassador to Germany, was fired because he defended the legacy of a World War II nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis.

Zelenskyy called the removal of his ambassadors a rotation that is part of normal diplomatic practice, the Times said.

We believe that the claims that these political leaders and diplomats have been arrested are false.