Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 78 people injured and prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy army troops in the capital.
At least two Cabinet ministers have also announced their resignations.
Prime Minister Mahinda, 76, sent his resignation letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after violent scenes were witnessed in Colombo.
The violence occurred as pressure mounted 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.
Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking resignation of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.
On Monday imposed a nationwide curfew and Army troops were deployed in the capital after pro-government groups attacked protesters outside embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 78 people injured.
The violence occurred following reports that Mahinda Rajapaksa may offer to stand down as Prime Minister, as pressure mounted on the embattled government led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.
A military contingent was deployed to the protest site to assist law enforcement after clashes between pro-government and protestors at MynaGoGama and GotaGoGama protest sites left 78 people injured.
Appealing to people to exercise restraint, Mahinda Rajapaksa had tweeted: "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..
Mahinda, 76, was under intense pressure from within his own Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ranks to resign.