Sri Lankan police arrested two ruling party lawmakers for allegedly instigating mob violence that plunged the country into days of unrest and left nine people dead last week, officials said Wednesday.
The members of parliament, both from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's party, were questioned by criminal investigators on Tuesday evening and detained overnight, a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, reports AFP.
"There is direct evidence against the two MPs and that is why they were arrested," the official said.
Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayathilake were among 22 politicians -- including former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his son Namal -- whose passports were impounded last week following allegations that they instigated violence.
On 9 May, thousands of ruling party supporters who were bussed into the capital attacked a peaceful demonstration by anti-government protesters demanding President Rajapaksa resign over an economic crisis that has paralysed the country.
Then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa -- the president's elder brother -- resigned shortly after the mob attack sparked retaliatory violence and arson, with more than 70 ruling party leaders' homes destroyed.
More than 225 people were hospitalised from the violence, according to health officials.
Police say they have arrested about 500 people in connection with the violence and retaliation.