Sri Lankan Ruling Party MP Shoots Dead Protester Before Killing Himself Amid Widespread Violence; Rajapaksa Finally Resigns

Athokorala fled the scene after shooting the two men and took refuge in a nearby place before shooting himself dead with his own revolver.

A Member of Parliament (MP) from Sri Lanka's ruling party shot dead a protester before killing himself as violence intensified in the country, police said. Amarakeerthi Athukorala, a legislator from Sri Lanka's ruling party shot two people during a confrontation outside the country's capital Colombo, with one of them dying.

Athukorala then fled the scene and after some time killed himself with his own revolver in front of the protestors. This comes as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahindra Rajapaksa resigned on Monday amid widespread protests across the country in the wake of the worst economic crisis faced by the country since its independence.

Complete Chaos

Sri Lanka Protest
Sri Lanka was rocked by protests on Monday Twitter

According to reports, ruling party MP Athukorala opened fire at two anti-government protestors who were blocking his car in the town of Nittambuwa, outside Colombo. One among them, a 27-year-old man died later, according to police.

Athokorala fled the scene after shooting the two men and took refuge in a nearby place before shooting himself dead with his own revolver.

"The MP fled the scene and took refuge in a nearby building," said a police source. " Thousands surrounded the building and he then took his own life with his revolver."

Amarakeerthi Athukorala
Amarakeerthi Athukorala shot dead a protester before turning the gun on himself Twitter

This comes as violence rocked the country on Monday, with anti-government protesters taking to the streets and even burning down houses.

On Monday, scores of Rajapaksa loyalists attacked unarmed protesters who were camping outside the president's office on the seafront Galle Face promenade in central Colombo since April 9.

Rajapaksa addressed around 3,000 supporters at his home, promising he would "defend the nation's interests." The supporters then destroyed anti-government banners and posters in front of the prime minister's Temple Trees house, tearing down protester tents.

They marched to a neighboring promenade and began tearing down other tents set up by the "Gotta Go Home" movement, which asks that the president resign.

"We were hit, the media were hit, women and children were hit," one witness said on conditions of anonymity.

Instigating Loyalists

Rajapaksa's speech added fuel to the fire resulting in the clashes that resulted in at least 139 people getting injured during the clashes, who needed hospital treatment.

The army riot squad was brought in to help police, according to officials. Throughout the crisis, soldiers have been sent to protect fuel and other crucial deliveries, but not to prevent conflicts.

"Strongly condemn the violent acts taking place by those inciting & participating, irrespective of political allegiances. Violence won't solve the current problems," Rajapaksa tweeted.

Mahindra Rajapaksa
Sri Lankan prime minister Mahindra Rajapaksa finally resigned on Monday following weeks of protests Twitter

While the three armed forces have been called in to aid police in maintaining public security, the defense secretary has sought public assistance to keep the country at peace.

However, following a day of violence, Rajapaksa resigned from his post in the evening. Prof Channa Jayasumana, the country's health minister, has also reportedly handed over his letter of resignation to the President.

According to sources, cabinet ministers have begun to quit in the wake of Rajapaksa's resignation.

Sri Lanka violence
Violence in Sri Lanka on Monday ahead of Rajapaksa's resignation Twitter

The attack on the protestors came just a day after Rajapaksa was heckled during his first public appearance since the mass uprising began. On Sunday, Rajapaksa paid a visit to one of Anuradhapura's holiest Buddhist temples, which has a 2,300-year-old tree.

Sri Lanka in its greatest economic crisis since independence has seen months of blackouts and severe shortages of food, fuel, and medications, provoking weeks of overwhelmingly nonviolent anti-government protests.

The ruling party's inability to address the economic crisis has wreaked havoc on the country's citizens.