Nearly 50 people were injured after authorities used teargas and water cannon to drive back a crowd that stormed the home of Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, amid anger over the government’s handling of the nation’s deepening economic crisis.
The crisis, the worst in living memory, has caused massive discontent, with people unable to find gas for cooking, medicines, fuel and basic items of food such as milk powder because the country has run out of foreign currency to pay for imported goods.
A crowd of hundreds of people chanted for Rajapaksa and the entire cabinet to resign over his handling of the crisis. Videos circulating on social media showed the protesters shouting “lunatic go home”.
Sri Lankan police imposed curfew and fired tear gas at demonstrators protesting dire food, fuel and power shortages outside the president’s house.
Agitated protesters stormed through barricades, and were accused of setting fire to a bus on Thursday night.
President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa blamed the events on “extremist elements”.