Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has resigned in the face of widespread public outrage over the government’s handling of the country’s increasing economic crisis. Following violent skirmishes between Rajapaksa loyalists and anti-government protestors in Colombo, the island was placed under curfew.
Violence in the capital has claimed the lives of five people, including a ruling party MP, and injured over 190 others. Since last month, protests have been held in response to rising costs and power outages.
Here is the latest update about Mahinda Rajapaksa: Sri Lankan PM Resigns Amid Economic Crisis
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation came as little surprise in a country struggling with economic uncertainty. After claims that his brother informed him he needed to quit, there had been days of anticipation that he’d leave. Mahinda Rajapaksa clung to power in the final days, believing that as the more popular of the brothers, he should not be the one to go – but he was.
Before saying his final goodbyes, he addressed a morning crowd of his devoted fans, some of whom were afterward spotted fighting anti-government protestors. Demonstrators danced joyfully when news of the PM’s departure reached Galle Face Green, Colombo’s seafront promenade.
They’ve been demanding for weeks that the Rajapaksa family, who have ruled for decades on and off, step down. However, this is only a partial win; the president is their main aim. He shows no signs of leaving, implying that the demonstrations will go on.
Shots were fired inside the grounds of the prime minister’s residence on Monday night, according to the AFP news agency, as police battled to keep demonstrators out of the inner security ring, where Mr. Rajapaksa is holed up with a few loyalists.
Following unrest outside the prime minister’s and president’s offices in Colombo, police and army riot teams were deployed earlier. After breaching police lines and attacking anti-government protestors with sticks and poles, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of governing party supporters.
Rajapaksa supporters invaded the adjoining “Gota go home” camp on the promenade after tearing down protester tents outside the PM’s Temple Trees mansion. One witness stated, “We were hit, the media was hit, ladies and children were hit.”
Thousands of demonstrators surrounded the car of a governing party MP just outside the city, in the hamlet of Nittambuwa, police reported. He opened fire and killed one person. According to AFP, the MP and his bodyguard were both found dead later.
Another MP in the southern town of Weeraketiya opened fire on demonstrators outside his home, killing two and injuring five more. According to reports, mobs set fire to multiple properties of ruling party politicians and local government officials.