Crisis in Sri Lanka: Protests turn deadly as government and economy near total collapse

Protests in Sri Lanka turned deadly this week as the country faces imminent bankruptcy. In Colombo, the capital city, supporters of the now-resigned Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly attacked antigovernment demonstrators, which led to multiple deaths and property damage, including the burning of several homes owned by current members of the government. In the days since, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of the former prime minister, has refused calls to resign and authorized the military to shoot protesters on sight should they be deemed a threat.

Video transcript

- Anti-government violence has spread across Sri Lanka following the resignation of the prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

- Protesters blame his government for soaring prices and shortages of basic necessities.

- Sri Lanka is virtually bankrupt, with food shortages among the urban middle class in Colombo, among farm workers on leafy tea plantations.

LESLIE DAREEJU: And people are suffering. And the people are living with one meal per day. Can you imagine? Can you imagine?

- Violent clashes this week left at least eight dead, 200 injured, and caused the prime minister to resign.

- It must be noted that yesterday, after weeks of peaceful protests, was the first time that Sri Lanka saw full-blown violence during protests.

- As the two sides came face to face, supporters of the prime minister attacked the so far peaceful demonstrators.

- [INAUDIBLE] are doing [INAUDIBLE]. The police is supposed to look after the general public, not look after the bloody well-being of these bloody rotten politicians.

- In retaliation, vehicles and commercial buildings have been destroyed and a number of MPs houses have been set alight.

- While the prime minister has gone, his brother, the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is refusing to leave office.

- The current president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he is a former military officer, and he has a lot of support within the military.

- While calm has returned, a nationwide curfew has been extended, with the military and police given emergency powers to detain people without warrants.

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