COLOMBO, Sri Lanka ( Associated Press) — Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned Monday after weeks of protests demanding his resignation and that of his brother, the president, over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. an official said.
Wijayananda Herath, assistant to the prime minister, confirmed that Rajapaksa submitted a letter of resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There was no immediate official confirmation of the presidency.
The resignation comes after authorities deployed armed troops to the capital Colombo on Monday following an attack earlier in the day by government supporters on protesters camped outside the offices of the president and prime minister.
The Indian Ocean island nation is on the verge of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Its economic troubles have sparked a political crisis, with the government facing widespread protests and a no-confidence motion in Parliament. Unions also called for a general strike on Monday until the president and the rest of his ruling family leave.
The resignation of the prime minister means the dissolution of the entire cabinet.
Supporters of the prime minister rallied inside his offices early Monday, urging him to ignore demands to step down. They then went to the camp of anti-government protesters, which had been set up for several days outside the government headquarters, and attacked them with clubs and iron bars, knocking down and burning their tents.
After the attack, hundreds of armed soldiers were deployed in the capital, as anti-government protesters accused the police of failing to prevent the attack despite using tear gas and water cannons against protesters on Friday.