Supporters of the current president violently attacked demonstrators gathered outside the presidential office.
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Critical situation in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, May 9, shortly after violent attacks by his supporters against anti-government protesters. The 76-year-old leader addressed his resignation letter to his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, paving the way for a “new unity government”, said his spokesperson. According to hospital services, at least 78 people were injured in these clashes.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa camp loyalists, armed with sticks and truncheons, have attacked protesters who have been camping outside the president’s office since April 9. Police fired tear gas and used water cannons after government supporters broke through police ranks to destroy encampments of thousands of anti-government protesters.
The population has been demonstrating for several weeks accusing President Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, of having precipitated the country into crisis. On Twitter, the latter urged “people to exercise restraint and remember that violence only begets violence”.
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 Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) May 9, 2022
For months, the island of 22 million people has suffered severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine. This unprecedented crisis, blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic which deprived the country of foreign currency for the tourism sector, has been aggravated by a series of bad political decisions, according to economists.