UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has encouraged Sri Lankan stakeholders to "find a solution to the current challenges through dialogue" as the island continues to grapple with a growing crisis.
“At the same time, we’ve also been concerned about the recent violence against peaceful protesters, and we urge calm and restraint, as well as respect for democratic rights, including the right… the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly," his Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq reportedly said.
Earlier this week, Mahinda Rajapaksa handed in his resignation just hours after clashes broke out between attacking anti-government protestors and pro-government supporters. As a result, a nationwide curfew has been imposed and Sri Lankan troops have been heavily deployed in the capital.
The deployment came after the country’s Minister of Defence ordered the Army, the Air Force and the Navy personnel to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others amidst the violent protests over the government’s failure to handle the economic crisis.
As many as 8 people have been recently killed and more than 200 injured after the violent clashes, which saw homes of parliamentarians lit on fire and mobs in the Sinhala south.
Amarkeerthi Athikorala, a member of the government-aligned Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was one of the first reported deaths.
Following Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation, Haq said that the UN has taken note of the resignation of the Prime Minister.