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SL PM Quits, home set on fire amid clashes

MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire and critically wounded two people blocking his car in Nittambuwa, and was later found dead after trying to take refuge in a nearby building, officials said.

Colombo: Sri Lanka was placed under curfew as loyalists of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and anti-government protesters clashed on Monday. A ruling party MP died and many were injured. Rajapaksa has resigned, leading to the collapse of the government.

The hugest clashes since the economic crisis hit the island nation, started this morning when supporters of the Rajapaksa family went on the rampage. The loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the President’s office in downtown Colombo since April 9.

By evening, the protesters hit back, setting fire to buses, destroying the memorial built for the parents of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa and setting ablaze their family home in Hambantota, around 250 km from Colombo. The houses of three former ministers and two MPs were also torched. 

The police fired tear gas shells and water cannon and declared an immediate curfew in Colombo, which was later widened to span the country of 22 million people. At least 100 injured people have been hospitalised.

President Rajapaksa said the curfew will be in place till 7 am on Tuesday.

In a first, the riot squad was called in to reinforce the police. Earlier, soldiers were pressed into service to protect deliveries of fuel and other essentials but never to prevent clashes.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, had sent his letter of resignation to his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, clearing the way for a “new unity government”. At least two cabinet ministers have also stepped down.

Hindi Website