Ruling Party MP Killed, 139 Injured as Violent Anti-Government Protests Rock Sri Lanka

© AFP 2023Протестующие блокируют дорогу в Рамбуккане, Шри-Ланка
Протестующие блокируют дорогу в Рамбуккане, Шри-Ланка - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Thousands of protesters have been occupying the entrance of the President's Office for more than a month, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family members, from the cabinet. They blame the present government, which came to office in 2019 after securing a vast majority, for the ongoing economic crisis.
On Monday, Amarakeerthi Athukorala, an MP of Sri Lanka's ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), was killed in a clash between protesters and supporters of the Rajapaksa government in Colombo.
More than 139 protesters were also injured in nationwide clashes that erupted after government supporters launched a series of attacks against rival protesters.
Preliminary findings suggest that Athikorala shot himself dead after protesters surrounded his vehicle in the Nittambuwa area of Colombo. Police also said that Athukorala opened fire at the protesters blocking his car, injuring at least two people.
The unconfirmed reports suggest that Nimal Lanza, Johnston Fernando, and other SLPP MPs' houses are also under attack by protesters.
The police have declared an indefinite curfew as the situation remains febrile across the nation despite Mahinda Rajapaksa, brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned from his post on Monday afternoon.
Before the prime minister's resignation, hundreds of Mahinda Rajapaksa supporters staged a demonstration, urging him not to resign under duress. The prime minister sent his resignation letter saying the decision had been made to pave the way to an all-party government.
The videos surfacing on social media show pro-government supporters attacking protesters, demolishing and burning their tents near the president's office. It was occupied for a month by people who had demanded the removal of the Rajapaksa family from power.
Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters and pro-government supporters from the clash site at Galle Face Green.
Condemning the violence against peaceful protesters, Julie Chung, US ambassador to Sri Lanka, called on the government to conduct a full investigation, including the arrest and prosecution of people who incited violence.
President Rajapaksa has urged the people to exercise restraint, underlining the need for joint efforts to resolve the present economic crisis.

"I strongly condemn the violent acts taking place by those inciting and participating, irrespective of political allegiances. Violence won’t solve the current problems," Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

Meanwhile, trade unions started a 'Week of Protests' on Monday, crippling the critical infrastructure, including ports, health and education institutions across the country.
The economic woes triggered by the lack of forex reserves have brought one of the biggest political crises in recent years in the island nation after people endured long queues to procure essential items such as food, fuel and medicine. Sri Lanka imports these essential items.
The Sri Lankan government announced last week that the country's forex reserves had plummeted less than $50 million.
The government claims that the pandemic-led economic lockdown has destroyed its earnings generated from tourism and remittances sent by Sri Lankans from abroad.
The nation is now burdened with a foreign debt of around $51 billion. It was due to pay $7 billion this year out of the total debt dominated by Japan, China, and India.
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