Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office, leaving at least 78 people injured and prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy army troops in the capital.
On Monday morning protesters held a demonstration opposite the Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister, urging Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa not to resign. Following their meeting with the prime minister, they clashed with anti-government protesters near the Temple Trees. At least 16 people who sustained injuries have been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. The resignation came shortly after he put out a tweet urging the general public to exercise restraint.
“While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we’re in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving,” Mahinda said in a tweet. As the nationwide protest continues to intensify, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday resigned, a move that is likely to pave the way for a new cabinet in the crisis marred country.
This comes days after President Gotbaya Rajapaksa in a special meeting on Friday requested the Prime Minister to step down as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported. Earlier, the opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) confirmed that its leader Sajith Premadasa will not accept the PM’s post in an interim government.
Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking resignation of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.
Prime Minister Mahinda, 76, sent his resignation letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after violent scenes were witnessed in Colombo. At least two Cabinet ministers have also announced their resignations.
The violence occurred as pressure mounted on the embattled government led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.
This comes days after President Gotbaya Rajapaksa in a special meeting on Friday requested the Prime Minister to step down as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported. Now that the Prime Minister has resigned, President Rajapaksa is expected to invite all the political parties in Parliament to form an all-party Cabinet.
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