Sri Lanka prime minister resigns amid worsening economic crisis

Development comes as anti-government demonstrations turn violent in Colombo.

Sri Lanka prime minister resigns amid worsening economic crisis

The Sri Lankan prime minister resigned on Monday, as anti-government demonstrations due to worsening economic crisis turned violent.

"Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent his resignation letter to President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa," said a brief statement by Rohan Welivita, the premier's media secretary.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also confirmed his resignation on Twitter, and said: "Effective immediately I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President."

Earlier, he had urged the public to exercise restraint. "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."

The development came hours after clashes between opposition and government supporters in Colombo, with police firing tear gas to break up the confrontation.

Curfew has been imposed in the capital and other parts of the country, and army has been called to assist police in controlling the situation.

Sri Lanka has defaulted on all of its foreign debt as the island nation faces the worst economic crisis in decades that sparked massive protests. Its foreign reserves dipped due to drastic drop in tourism activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has approached the International Monetary Fund to help it pay for imports of food, medicines, and fuel.

Many have demanded the influential family to quit for "mishandling" the economy. President Gotabaya is Mahinda's younger brother.