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Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Resigns Amid Nationwide Curfew, Army Deployment

Earlier on Monday, Mahinda's supporters attacked anti-government protesters, injuring 78 people and leading to a nationwide curfew.

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Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa AP

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 78 people injured, leading to a nationwide curfew and deployment of the military in the streets of the capital Colombo.

Mahinda, 76, sent his resignation letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after violent scenes were witnessed in Colombo.

The violence occurred as pressure mounted on the embattled government led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya to form an interim administration to overcome the country's worst financial crisis.

Sri Lanka has an acute shortage of foreign exchange. All essential commodities such as vehicular fuel, cooking gas, food, medicines, etc. are short and their prices have skyrocketed. There is also shortage of fuel to produce thermal power, leading to long power cuts in the country. 

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across the country since April 9 to seek resignations of Gotabaya and Mahinda over their failure to tackle the current crisis in the country. 

Besides Mahinda, at least two Cabinet ministers have also announced their resignations.

The authorities on Monday imposed the curfew until further notice, as per local media that quoted a government spokesperson. 

Meanwhile, Gotabaya and Mahinda have appealed to the people to exercise restraint and remember that violence only begets violence, saying the crisis needs an economic solution which his government is committed to resolving.

Gotabaya said in a tweet, "Strongly condemn the violent acts taking place by those inciting & participating, irrespective of political allegiances. Violence won’t solve the current problems. I request all citizens to remain calm & exercise restraint. I urge everyone to work together in solving this crisis.”

Mahinda also urged the people to exercise restraint.

He said in a tweet, "While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we're in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving.” 

(With PTI inputs)

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