Sri Lanka violence death toll rises to five: Police

In the southern town of Weeraketiya, a ruling-party politician opens fire on anti-government protesters, killing two



A Sri Lankan government supporter carries a national flag after attacking the anti-government protesters outside president's office in Colombo. — AP
A Sri Lankan government supporter carries a national flag after attacking the anti-government protesters outside president's office in Colombo. — AP

By AP

Published: Mon 9 May 2022, 8:19 PM

The death toll from a day of political violence in Sri Lanka on Monday has risen to five, police said, with more than 189 injured.

The latest two deaths were in the southern town of Weeraketiya, where a ruling-party politician opened fire on anti-government protesters, killing two and wounding five, officers said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned Monday following weeks of protests demanding that he and his brother, the president, step down for dragging the country into its worst economic crisis in decades.

Rajapaksa said on Twitter that he submitted his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a move that followed a violent attack by government supporters on the protesters, prompting authorities to deploy armed troops in the capital, Colombo. There was no immediate comment from the president’s office.

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For more than a month, protests have spread across the country, drawing people across ethnicities, religions and class. For the first time middle-class Sri Lankans also took to the streets in large numbers, marking a dramatic revolt by many former Rajapaksa supporters, some of whom have spent weeks protesting outside the president’s office.

The prime minister’s resignation comes as the country’s economy has swiftly unravelled in recent weeks, causing extraordinary pain to Sri Lankans. Imports of everything from milk to fuel have plunged, spawning dire food shortages and rolling power cuts. People have been forced to queue for hours to buy essentials. Doctors have warned of a crippling shortage of life-saving drugs in hospitals, and the government has suspended payments on $7 billion in foreign debt due this year alone.


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