Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns amid violent clashes over economic crisis
Amid the worst economic crisis the country has seen since independence, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his post on Monday.
Sri Lanka's health minister Prof Channa Jayasumana has also handed over his letter of resignation to the President.
Until now, the Rajapaksa brothers - President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa - had defied calls for their resignation even as unrest and protests against the government intensified.
On Monday, following reports that Mahinda Rajapaksa may offer to step down as prime minister, a violent clash erupted outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office.
Pro-government groups attacked protesters and more than 20 people were injured in the ensuing violence. The government then imposed a nationwide curfew and deployed army troops in the capital.
Mahinda Rajapaksa took to Twitter to urge citizens to exercise restraint. He wrote, "I urge our general public to exercise restraint and remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we're in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving."
On Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had declared a state of emergency in the country. It was the second time that emergency was declared in Sri Lanka in just over a month.
For about one month now, Sri Lanka has been facing acute shortages of fuel, medicines and electricity supply. Additionally, prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed.
The crisis has been caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9.