Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns, ruling-party MP kills protester

Chaos has erupted overseas as a world leader stood aside, moments after a protester was killed by a ruling party MP.Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, his spokesman said, shortly after violent clashes between his supporters and anti-government protesters left 78 people wounded.The 76-year-old sent his letter of resignation to his younger brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa clearing the way for a “new unity government”, spokesman Rohan Weliwita said.It came as police revealed a legislator from Sri Lanka‘s ruling party shot dead an anti-government protester and then took his own life during a confrontation outside the capital.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,” a police official told AFP by telephone. “Thousands surrounded the building and he then took his own life with his revolver.”The incident came as scores of people took to the streets across the curfew-bound island and targeted supporters of Prime Minister Rajapaksa before he tendered his resignation.The Rajapaksa loyalists had earlier in the day destroyed tents and placards of anti-government demonstrators camping outside the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa since April 9.In violence in the capital Colombo, at least 138 people were wounded and admitted to the Colombo National Hospital, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.Chaos has engulfed Sri Lanka for months as the island nation reels from an ongoing economic crunch. President Rajapaksa on Friday declared a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks, giving security forces sweeping powers as a nationwide strike demanding his resignation brought the country to standstill.A spokesman for the president said he invoked the tough laws to “ensure public order” after shops closed and public transport was halted Friday by unions blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis, which has ignited weeks of unrest.Earlier Friday, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse students attempting to storm the national parliament demanding Rajapaksa resign.The emergency gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects for long periods without judicial supervision.It also allows the deployment of troops to maintain law and order in addition to police.“The President used his executive powers to invoke emergency regulations to ensure the maintenance of essential services and public order,” the spokesman said.He said the laws will go into effect from midnight Friday.Beleaguered Rajapaksa had declared an earlier state of emergency on April 1, a day after thousands of protesters attempted to storm his private home in the capital. That emergency was allowed to lapse on April 14.But protests have escalated since then. The new emergency declaration came as thousands of demonstrators remained outside Rajapaksa’s seafront office, where they have been protesting since April 9, and smaller groups tried to storm homes of other key government politicians.The 85,000-strong police force had stepped up security for all ruling party legislators.But they were stretched to the limit and had asked the security forces to reinforce themOriginally published as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns, ruling-party MP kills protester