Sri Lankan ruling party MP killed in clashes
Published: 09:11 PM, 9 May 2022
Supporters of Sri Lanka`s ruling party hold down an anti-government demonstrator during a clash between the two groups in Colombo-Reuters
A legislator, Amarakeerthi Athukorala, from Sri Lanka's ruling party was found dead on Monday after a clash with anti-government protesters outside the capital Colombo, news agency AFP quoted the police, as dozens were wounded in violence elsewhere.
Athukorala reportedly opened fire and critically wounded two people blocking his car in Nittambuwa, and was later found dead after trying to take refuge in a nearby building.
The development comes even as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned amid the island nation's worst economic crisis since independence that has led to widespread protests.
"The prime minister has sent his letter of resignation to the president," an official said, declining to be named.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the prime minister's younger brother.
On Monday, the biggest clashes since the start of the crisis erupted in Colombo when supporters of the Rajapaksa family went on the rampage.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon and declared an immediate curfew in Colombo which was later widened to include the entire South Asian island nation of 22 million people.
At least 78 injured people were hospitalised, Colombo National Hospital spokesman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.
Officials said the army riot squad was called in to reinforce police. Soldiers have been deployed throughout the crisis to protect deliveries of fuel and other essentials but until now not to prevent clashes.
Scores of Rajapaksa loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the president's office at the sea-front Galle Face promenade in downtown Colombo since April 9, AFP reporters said.
The violence began after several thousand supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa, brought in buses from rural areas, poured out of his nearby official residence.
Rajapaksa had addressed some 3,000 supporters at his house and pledged he would "protect the interests of the nation."