Tuesday May 10, 2022

Sri Lanka’s Colombo calm after clashes that killed five

Sri Lanka’s Colombo calm after clashes that killed five

People look at destroyed buses laying close to Sri Lanka's outgoing Prime Minister official residence in Colombo. AFP

Rlixa Report

Streets were calm on Tuesday in the Sri Lankan commercial capital of Colombo, following a day of clashes that killed five people and injured more than 200, police said, in violence that prompted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign.


Sri Lankan prime minister resigns, nationwide curfew imposed after deadly clashes

Sri Lankan ruling-party MP kills protester takes own life

As the Indian Ocean nation battles its worst economic crisis in history, thousands of protesters defied curfew to attack government figures, setting ablaze homes, shops and businesses belonging to ruling party lawmakers and provincial politicians.

Sri Lanka’s Colombo calm after clashes that killed five
Anti-government demonstrators set fire on the house owned by a minister in Arachchikattuwa, Sri Lanka. Reuters

"The situation is calmer now, though there are still reports of sporadic unrest," said police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa, adding that five people were killed in separate clashes and about 200 injured as violence flared nationwide.

No arrests have yet been made in the isolated incidents of violence, he said, adding that three of the deaths had been from gunshot injuries.

The attacks on government figures came in apparent reprisal for an incident just hours before Rajapaksa's resignation.

Police had fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse skirmishers after the prime minister's supporters, many armed with iron bars, stormed a camp of those protesting against the government, beating them and setting fire to their tents.

Meanwhile, leaving the capital Colombo on Monday, ruling-party legislator Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire on demonstrators blocking his vehicle, killing a 27-year-old man and wounding two others.

Sri Lanka’s Colombo calm after clashes that killed five
Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside the Sri Lanka's Prime Minister in Colombo. AFP

Police said the MP later took his own life, but the party said he had been murdered. The lawmaker's bodyguard was also killed, but it was not clear how.

A provincial politician from Rajapaksa's party who has not been named shot dead two and wounded three people in the southern town of Weeraketiya on Monday. He is missing.

Politicians' homes burned

At least 41 homes of top ruling party politicians were torched overnight despite curfews. Hundreds of motorcycles parked in those homes were also burnt.

"This is something we should have done earlier," an unidentified man in front of a burning home of a minister told a local media network. "We are sorry we couldn't burn it sooner."

The home and shrine of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's personal shaman, Gnana Akka, was destroyed in an arson attack in the north-central town of Anuradhapura.

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