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Sri Lanka Crisis: Rajapaksas Ancestral Home Set Ablaze After PM Resigns, 5 Killed In Protests

The ancestral home of the Rajapaksas in Hambantota has been set on fire by a group of anti-government protestors, hours after Mahinda Rajapaksa, the patriarch of the powerful clan resigned on Monday. Five persons were reportedly killed in protests on Monday night.

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Sri Lanka Economic Crisis AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

The ancestral home of the Rajapaksas in Hambantota has been set on fire by a group of anti-government protestors, hours after Mahinda Rajapaksa, the patriarch of the powerful clan resigned on Monday in response to mounting demand for his ouster as Sri Lanka's prime minister.

Video footage showed the entire house of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Medamulana in Hambantota city was burning away as protestors hooted away, the Daily Mirror reported.

Sri Lanka’s PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday after holding on to power for weeks, following unprecedented anti-government protests demanding his ouster as well as the administration led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country’s worst economic crisis.

Shots were fired from inside the Sri Lankan prime minister’s official residence Monday. Thousands of protesters breached the main gate and torched a truck at the entrance, as per the reports.

At least four people, including a ruling party MP, were killed in the subsequent violence. Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire and critically wounded two people blocking his car in the town of Nittambuwa, police said, adding that one of the victims died of his injuries. “The MP fled the scene and took refuge at a nearby building,”  “thousands surrounded the building and he then took his own life with his revolver.” a police official told AFP.

Prime Minister Mahinda's House in Kurunegala was also set on fire by protesters while a mob also destroyed D A Rajapaksa Memorial - constructed in the memory of the father of Mahinda and Gotabaya - in Medamulana, Hambantota.

Police also fired tear gas to push back protesters retaliating against an attack on them earlier in the day by those loyal to the outgoing premier Mahinda Rajapaksa. Earlier, Mahinda Rajapaksa's supporters attacked anti-government protesters at MynaGoGama and GotaGoGama protest sites in Colombo. Several properties of ministers and lawmakers of the ruling coalition were destroyed by the protesters.

Sri Lankan media also reported that a fire has broke out near the back gate of Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister here. Police water cannons have been called but anti-government protesters are attacking the vehicles, the report said.

Protesters have also attacked the house of Badulla District parliamentarian Tissa Kuttiarachch and later set it on fire. The house of Puttalam MP Santha Nishantha was completely destroyed due to an arson attack.

Violence raged across Sri Lanka late into the night on Monday, with five people dead and some 180 injured as prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa quit after weeks of protests. Those killed in the worst unrest since the crisis began included a lawmaker from the ruling party who shot two people. Another ruling party politician gunned down two others reported by News18.

There have been protests over soaring prices and power cuts since last month. Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.

(with inputs from PTI)

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