Officials say Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned after widespread protests against the government’s handling of the economic crisis.
After violent skirmishes between Rajapaksa loyalists and anti-government protestors in Colombo, the island was placed under curfew.
According to a local hospital, at least 78 people have been hurt in the capital’s unrest.
Since last month, there have been protests over rising costs and power outages.
The island nation is in the midst of its biggest economic crisis since its 1948 independence from the United Kingdom. The government has asked financial assistance in an emergency situation.
Mr Rajapaksa, 76, delivered his resignation letter to his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, saying he hoped it would help settle the problem, although the move is unlikely to appease government critics as long as the latter is in charge.
Protesters have been camped outside President Rajapaksa’s office since early April, demanding his resignation.
Earlier in the day, police were called to Colombo as violence broke out outside the prime minister’s and president’s offices.
After breaking over police lines and attacking individuals with sticks and poles, police fired tear gas and water cannon at government supporters.
People are enraged because the expense of living has skyrocketed.
Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves are nearly depleted, and the country can no longer purchase basic necessities such as food, medicine, or fuel.
The government blames the Covid pandemic, which nearly wiped off Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, which is one of the country’s most lucrative sources of foreign revenue.
Many experts, however, believe that economic mismanagement is to blame.
According to the AFP news agency, the prime minister’s letter stated that his resignation was intended to pave the way for a “all-party government to shepherd the country out of the current economic crisis.”
Opposition parties have so far declined to do so, calling for the president’s resignation.