Sri Lankan Police imposed an indefinite curfew in Colombo on Monday after government supporters clashed with demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

News agency AFP reported that as many as 20 people have been injured in the clashes. Rajapaksa supporters armed with sticks and clubs attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the president’s office since April 9, AFP added.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon on the government supporters who breached police lines to smash tents and other structures set up by anti-government protesters.

The violence took place even as reports on Monday indicate that Mahinda Rajapksa may offer to resign as Prime Minister as pressure mounts on the embattled government led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.

Rajapaksa was gathering his supporters to apply counterpressure not to stand down, news agency PTI reported.

“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,” PM Mahinda tweeted.

A report by Daily Mirror, an online news platform, suggests that a group of supporters of Mahinda attacked the protesters outside the ‘MainaGoGama’, a protest site near Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister.

The tents opposite Temple Trees were dismantled by a mob, Lanka First, it added.

The Colombo National Hospital said at least 16 people were admitted to the hospital so far following the incident, Colombo Gazette reported.

The police formed a human chain to prevent the protesters from entering GotaGoGama. However, the mob pushed their way past the police human chain and attacked GotaGoGama.

Riot police called in to manage the situation.

Opposition leader of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Sajith Premadasa visited the GotaGoGama protest site to assess the situation. He was also attacked by the protesters, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

A curfew was enforced in Colombo with immediate effect after the violence.

The ‘MainaGoGama’ protest site was set up demanding the resignation of Mahinda. 

Hundreds of supporters of the Prime Minister have been brought in buses while some others marched to the Temple Trees to show support to the premier against the call for his resignation, Colombo Page news portal reported.

The demonstrators insisted that Rajapaksa remain in office and not resign.


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