Sri Lankan prime minister resigns Monday to make way for unity government that b trying to find a way out of the worst economic crisis in the country’s history, but protesters said they also want his brother to step down as president.

The resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa came hours after clashes broke out in Colombo, where supporters of the ruling party stormed an anti-government protest camp and were repulsed by police using tear gas and water cannons.

A member of parliament for the ruling Amarakirti Atukorala party has died after clashes with anti-government protesters in the town of Nittambou near Colombo, a police source told Reuters, without giving details.

At least three were injured and the area remains tense, with dozens of protesters still on the scene, a source said.

A curfew has been imposed across the country in addition to the state of emergency of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the prime minister’s younger brother. called Gotha – said last week in the context of escalating protests.

The island nation of 22 million people has suffered from prolonged power outages and shortages of essentials, including fuel, cooking gas and medicine, and the government has only $ 50 million left in usable foreign reserves.

Residents of Sri Lanka are taking to the streets mostly in peaceful protests and demanding the resignation of Rajapaksa.

In his resignation letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the prime minister said he was resigning to help form an interim unity government.

“School stakeholders have indicated that the best solution to the current crisis is to form an interim all-party government,” the letter said.

“So I resigned so that the next steps could be taken in accordance with the Constitution.”

Government spokeswoman Nalak Godakheva said all cabinet members had also resigned.

“Now the president will invite other political parties to form a unity government,” he told Reuters.

“The president will meet with independent and opposition political parties, and we expect a new government in the coming days.”

In the streets of Colombo, the mood was joyful but tense as cars – some with the national flag and others shouting – drove along the seafront, where clashes had previously taken place.

Outside the residence of Prime Minister Osha De Silva was among hundreds of protesters celebrating his resignation, but said she also wanted the president to resign.

“The Rajapaksa regime is corrupt,” Silva said, clasping the national flag in both hands.


The prime minister’s departure came on a day of chaos and violence, when pro- and anti-government demonstrations took place for the first time since an unprecedented wave of demonstrations in late March.

According to a Reuters witness, some protesters seized a bus used to transport pro-government supporters, one of several such incidents reported in Colombo.

A video from local media shows the Rajapaksa family’s ancestral home burning in the southern city of Hambantota, while several Attacks on deputies’ homes and polling stations were also reported. Reuters could not immediately check the footage.

Pro-government supporters were attacked in at least four places as they were returning from Colombo, media reported. The homes of at least two mayors were also set on fire, police sources told Reuters.

Hundreds of ruling party supporters rallied near the prime minister’s official residence before marching on an anti-government protest site near the president’s office.

Police in advance set up a line on the main road leading to the site, but did little to stop the advance of pro-government protesters, according to a Reuters witness.

Pro-government supporters, some armed with iron bars, attacked anti-government protesters in the Gota Go Gama tent village, which emerged last month and became the center of nationwide protests.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the confrontation.

At least nine people have been taken to Colombo National Hospital for treatment for injuries or tear gas inhalation, a hospital official said, declining to name himself. Local media reported that about 150 were injured during the day.

“We fervently condemn the violent actions of those who incite and participate, regardless of political affiliation,” President Rajapaksa said on Twitter. “Violence will not solve current problems.”

As dusk fell over Colombo, thousands of people challenged the curfew to protest at Goto Go Gama. “Gotha (fight) go home,” chanted the crowd.

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