Sri Lanka’s ruling family in fight for survival as crisis worsens: His beloved villa has been daubed in graffiti by protesters, and a museum dedicated to his father ransacked. Now former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is in hiding in a heavily fortified military base, protected by the armed forces.
The reversal of fortunes for the island nation’s most powerful politician for decades has been giddying. A scion of the Rajapaksa family beloved by many Sri Lankans for ending a protracted civil war, the 76-year-old is now a pariah. An economic crisis, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic mismanagement, has drained the country of money to pay for fuel, medicine and other vital supplies, meaning lengthy blackouts and long queues for gasoline. Food prices are soaring.
Ram Manikkalingam on the situation in Sri Lanka:
Weeks of largely peaceful demonstrations demanding the prime minister and his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, stand down, turned violent on Monday in the deadliest unrest so far – nine people were killed and over 300 injured. The turmoil is the worst to hit Sri Lanka since the war ended in 2009. The small southern town of Weeraketiya, where Mahinda liked to stay while visiting the family stronghold of Hambantota district, was not spared. Shortly after the prime minister resigned on Monday, hundreds of people attacked a small group of police officers guarding his modest villa, vandalizing an outhouse containing family memorabilia and sports trophies.