COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Prime Minister (PM) Mahinda Rajapaksa quit on Monday after a day of violence that saw five people including an MP killed and over 189 wounded as government supporters armed with sticks and clubs attacked protestors.
Lawmaker Amarakeerthi Athukorala from the ruling party shot two people — killing a 27-year-old man. Then himself after surrounded by a mob of antigovernmental protestors outside the city, police said.
Sri Lanka has suffered months of blackouts and medicines in its worst economic crisis since independence. Sparking weeks of overwhelmingly peaceful antigovernmental demonstrations.
On Monday scores of Rajapaksa loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the president´s office at the sea-front Galle Face promenade in downtown Colombo since April 9.
The violence began after several thousand supporters of the prime minister. Brought in buses from rural areas that poured out of his nearby official residence.
Rajapaksa had addressed some 3,000 supporters at his house and pledged he would “protect the interests of the nation”. The supporters then initially pulled down tents of protesters in front of the prime minister´s Temple Trees residence and torched antigovernmental banners and placards.
They then marched to the nearby promenade and began destroying other tents set up by the “Gota go home” campaign that demands the president step down.
“We hit, the media hit, women and children hit,” one witness said. Police fired tear gas and water cannon and declared an immediate curfew in Colombo. Which later widened to include the entire South Asian island nation of 22 million people.