Sunday, Aug 07, 2022

Sri Lanka Crisis: Ruling Party MP, His Bodyguard Killed In Clashes With Protesters

Supporters of the government attacked anti-government protesters on Monday, injuring 174, leading to a nationwide indefinite curfew.

Representative image of protests in Sri Lanka AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

A Sri Lankan member of parliament from Rajapaksa brothers' ruling party was killed on Monday along with his personal security officer in clashes between anti- and pro-government protesters. 

Amarakeerthi Athukorala, a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP from the Polonnaruwa district, was surrounded by anti-government groups at the north western town of Nittambuwa, as per the police. Later, he and his PSO were found dead.

The people said that gunfire came from the MP's car, and when angry mobs toppled the car, the MP fled and took refuge in a building and died by suicide from his own revolver. 

By the time he killed himself as per people, thousands of people had surrounded the building.

Earlier on Monday, supporters of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked anti-government protesters outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 174 people injured. This led to the eruption of violence across the country as the public turned their wrath on pro-Rajapaksa supporters as they were leaving the capital back home. Their vehicles were stopped and attacked in most towns.

A nationwide indefinite curfew has since been declared and military has been deployed in the streets.

The 76-year-old Mahinda resigned hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters.

Sri Lanka is currently going through its worst financial crisis. It has an acute shortage of foreign exchange. All essential items, including food, cooking gas, vehicular fuel, and medicines, are in shortage and their prices have skyrocketed. The country is also short of fuel to generate thermal power, leading to long power cuts in the country.  

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking resignation of Gotabaya and Prime Mahinda over their government's failrue to deal with the crisis. 

(With PTI inputs)