Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday amid ongoing protests against his government’s economic policies. The country was going through the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.
Rajapaksa handed in his resignation letter to the president on Monday, his younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a government official reported. In early April, the entire cabinet resigned. Only Rajapaksa remained seated.
On Monday morning, a group of around 3,000 people gathered at the prime minister’s home to show support for the government. After Prime Minister Rajapaksa addressed them, they moved to a square in the capital Colombo where anti-government protesters were also present. It turned into a violent confrontation, during which dozens of people were injured. At least 78 people were taken to hospital.
Demonstrations against economic policy have been going on for weeks in the South Asian island state of 22 million people. In Sri Lanka, there is a shortage of basic necessities and prolonged power cuts. The country is economically very dependent on tourists, but they have stayed away in recent years due to the risk of terrorist attacks and the corona crisis.
The demonstrators demand the departure of the president in addition to the resignation of the prime minister. The Rajapaksa family came to power in 2019. The president took to Twitter to express his condemnation of the violence, wherever it comes from.