Seven people have been killed and more than 225 injured in a wave of violence in Sri Lanka, where the the prime minister resigned after weeks of protests over the worsening economic crisis.
As the violence dragged on well into Monday night, authorities imposed an indefinite curfew across the country of 22 million people and called in the military to help contain the violence.
Anti-government protesters who had been demonstrating peacefully since April 9 began to retaliate after they were attacked by supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
In a move before dawn on Tuesday, heavily armed evacuated troops the 76-year-old leader from his official residence after protesters broke down the front door.
Defying the curfew, hundreds of protesters also stormed the entrance to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office in Colombo for the 32nd day to demand that he follow in his older brother’s footsteps and resign.
These are the main incidents of the riots on the island:
MP shoots protesters
Leaving Colombo on Monday, ruling party lawmaker Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire about protesters who blocked his vehicle, killed a 27-year-old man and injured two others.
Police said the MP later took his own life, but the party said he had been killed. The lawmaker’s bodyguard was also killed, but it is not clear how.
A provincial politician from Rajapaksa’s party, who has not been identified, allegedly shot two people dead and wounded three others in the southern city of Weeraketiya on Monday. He had disappeared.
Houses of politicians burned
At least 41 homes of leading ruling party politicians were burned down overnight despite curfews. Hundreds of motorcycles parked in those houses were also burned.
“This is something we should have done earlier,” an unidentified man outside a minister’s burning house told a local media network. “We’re sorry we weren’t able to burn it earlier.”
The home and shrine of President Rajapaksa’s personal shaman, Gnana Akka, were destroyed in an arson attack in the north-central town of Anuradhapura.
Destroyed Rajapaksa Museum
Mobs attacked a museum about the Rajapaksas in the ruling family’s ancestral village of Meda Mulana in the island’s deep south and razed it to the ground, police said.
Two wax statues of Rajapaksa’s parents were smashed and the building was smashed by mobs, as well as the nearby Rajapaksa ancestral home.
A political office of the Rajapaksas in the northwestern city of Kurunegala was also destroyed in an arson attack.
status symbol coup
Mobs set fire to a truck used by security forces to block the main entrance to the prime minister’s official residence, Temple Trees, in Colombo, a key symbol of state power in the South Asian country.
Police used tear gas and shots in the air to drive back the crowd, as thousands of protesters poured through the main gate. The outgoing prime minister was evacuated by the military before dawn on Tuesday.
Some of the tear gas canisters hit the US embassy compound across the street from Temple Trees, but there were no reports of casualties.
A hotel owned by a close associate of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sons was also set on fire, along with a Lamborghini car parked inside. There were no casualties among the foreign guests, police said.
Doctors from the main National Hospital in Colombo intervened to rescue government supporters who were injured in clashes with anti-Rajapaksa protesters.
“They may be killers, but for us they are patients who must be treated first,” a doctor shouted to a crowd blocking the entrance to the emergency unit.
A total of 219 people were admitted to Colombo National Hospital alone, with five in intensive care, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
Soldiers had to break locks to force open the doors and enter the hospital to bring in wounded government supporters.
dive into the lake
Enraged anti-government protesters pushed scores of people into the shallow Beira Lake near the Temple Trees residence.
“I came because I got a job from Mahinda [Rajapaksa]said one man, as he begged to be allowed out of the highly polluted lake.
Police rescued the man and more than a dozen other people Monday night and admitted them to the hospital.
Six vehicles, including two buses used to transport Rajapaksa loyalists, were also submerged.
Buses burned, damaged
Dozens of buses used by Rajapaksa supporters to travel to Colombo that same day were set on fire or damaged across the country.
In the suburb of Maharagama, a mob forced a pro-government group leader off a bus and threw him into a garbage cart before ramming the vehicle with a bulldozer.