The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned this Monday, after several clashes between government supporters and protesters who have demanded his departure for several weeks due to the serious economic crisis that the country is going through.
“[Rajapaksa] resigned. He presented his letter of resignation,” a head of the prime minister’s office told Spanish news agency Efe.
The Sri Lankan authorities declared this Monday the adoption of mandatory curfew and sent armed troops to the country’s capital, Colombo, after government supporters attacked protesters who were camped in front of the residence of the President and Prime Minister, while the unions began a “Week of Protests”, demanding the change of Government and the resignation of the President.
The Indian Ocean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Economic problems provoked a political crisis, with the government facing widespread protests and a vote of no confidence in parliament.
Supporters of the prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, gathered in his office on Monday and asked him to ignore protesters’ demands for resignation.
After the meeting, supporters of Rajapaksa went to the place where the protesters have been for several days and attacked them with sticks, destroying and burning the tents, according to footage from the local television channel Sirasa.
After the attack, hundreds of armed soldiers were deployed to Colombo as protesters made accusations on television that the police did not interfere to stop the attack despite using tear gas and water cannons against protesters on Friday.
Government party deputy Sanath Nishantha, who was among the executive’s supporters who attacked the protesters, died during clashes.
Despite not being in critical condition, 23 injured were taken to the capital’s main hospital, an unnamed official said by the Associated Press.
According to the French news agency AFP, the number of injured amounts to at least 78 people.