Sri Lanka: After Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation, five killed as protests continue
An MP was among those killed and several leaders’ homes were set on fire as clashes ensued between Rajapaksa’s supporters and anti-government protestors.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday resigned from his post amid an unprecedented economic crisis in the island country. He has handed over his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Meanwhile, chaos ensued in the island country as at least five persons, including a ruling party MP, were killed and homes of many leaders were attacked in clashes between supporters of Rajapaksa’s party and anti-government protestors.
Earlier on Monday, Sri Lankan authorities had imposed a nationwide curfew and deployed Army after protestors demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation clashed with government supporters across the country, Hindustan Times reported.
However, as the protests continued, Cabinet Minister Ramesh Pathirana’s house in Galle city was set on fire, local media reported.
In a protest in Nittambuwa town, three people including a member of Parliament from Sri Lanka’s ruling party, and his security officials were killed. At least 139 were injured, according to AFP.
MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala had fired and critically wounded two protestors blocking his car in Nittambuwa town, the police said. He was later found dead in a nearby building.
Two more persons were killed in a shooting incident at a government office in Weeraketiya town of Hambantota district, Sri Lankan website Newswire reported, citing the police. The ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family in Hambantota, and the houses of ruling party MP Sanath Nishantha and senior leader of the party Maheepala Herath were also been set on fire has also been
The nationwide curfew has now been extended till 7 am on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protestors have been holding sit-in demonstrations outside Gotabaya’s house since last month as Sri Lanka plunged into public debt, leading to its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. With the country’s foreign currency reserves dwindling, Sri Lankans are facing shortages of medicines, milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essential items.
Last week, the authorities had declared a state of emergency in the country for the second time in a little over a month. The Sri Lankan government had first declared a state of emergency on April 1, giving Rajapaksa sweeping powers to detain demonstrators and seize property.
Authorities have also imposed 13-hour daily power cuts due to a shortage of fuel to operate power plants. On April 17, state-run petroleum corporation had began rationing fuel – one the many commodities in shortage in the island nation.
On April 12, the government said it would default on its entire external debt worth $51 billion (over Rs 3.88 lakh crore) till it receives a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
A country’s external debt pertains to the money borrowed by it from foreign lenders through commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions.