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Sri Lankan prime minister resigns amid protests over economic crisis


Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaska announced on Twitter that he has submitted his letter of his resignation to his brother, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Monday’s resignation came after weeks of protests over the country’s worst economic crises in decades.

“We are here to protect our country from the Rajapaksas who have dragged this country into an abyss. We had many hopes and dreams when we cast our vote. But we don’t see any of that becoming a reality,” an unnamed retired government employee said over the weekend. “These rulers are dragging this country down. We won’t have a country for our future generations.”

Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy scarce fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine, most of which come from abroad.

“If we are talking about our economy, people are dying. They cannot provide their foods. Children are dying with the hunger,” protester Manoj Mudalige said last week. “And [the Rajapaksa’s] are trying to get some political agendas with other [political] parties. They are buying parliament members by using the money they have robbed from us.”

Supporters of the Sri Lankan prime minister rallied inside his office earlier Monday, urging him to ignore the protesters’ demand to step down. Outside of his office, authorities deployed armed troops following an attack earlier in the day by government supporters on protesters. The video above includes opposition leader Sajith Premadasa being confronted by pro-Rajapaksa protesters Monday.

People have been singling out Rajapaksa supporters and attacking them in many parts of the country. Buses carrying the supporters back from the morning meeting were blocked and also attacked. Homes of some government ministers and politicians supporting the Rajapaksas were attacked and some set on fire.

The Sri Lankan president has so far refused to resign and Parliament must go through a difficult process if it attempts to oust him. The resignation of the prime minister means that the entire Cabinet is dissolved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.