Sri Lanka’s prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday (May 9) to make way for a unity government to try to find a way out of the country’s worst economic crisis in history.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation came hours after clashes broke out in the commercial capital Colombo, where supporters of the ruling party stormed an anti-government protest camp and were beaten back by police using tear gas and water cannon.
A nationwide curfew has been now been imposed, on top of the state of emergency that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – the prime minister’s younger brother – declared last week in the face of escalating protests.
The island nation of 22 million people has suffered prolonged power cuts and shortages of essentials, including fuel, cooking gas and medicines, and the government is left with as little as $50 million of useable foreign reserves.
Enraged by the worsening situation, Sri Lankans have been taking to the streets in largely peaceful protests and demanding that the Rajapaksas step down.