A protest erupted in front of Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Naval Base on Tuesday, 10 May, as it was believed that former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and some of his family members were seeking refuge at the base after leaving their residence in Colombo, local media reported.
The country has been engulfed in violence after supporters of Rajapaksa attacked peaceful anti-government protesters who were demanding his ouster over the country’s crushed economy that has led to shortages of essentials like food, fuel, and power.
Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, a day that saw violent attacks on the homes of political leaders, including on the ancestral home of the Rajapaksas in Hambantota.
Videos on social media show the house of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Medamulana in Hambantota city set ablaze and covered in flames.
Former PM Rajapaksa’s House in Kurunegala was also set alight by demonstrators.
Additionally, an angry mob destroyed the DA Rajapaksa Memorial, constructed in the memory of the father of Mahinda and Gotabaya in Hambantota, according to a PTI report.
Sri Lanka is going through an economic meltdown of a scale unseen since the country's financial crisis of 1948. Prices of essential commodities like rice, milk, and oil have skyrocketed.
The main cause is the shortage of foreign currency, which has led to a huge reduction in imports of essential items like petroleum, food, paper, sugar, lentils, medicines, and transportation equipment.
The roots of the shortage lie in the recent failure of the tourism industry, the failure to procure enough FDI, and the government’s refusal to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
(With inputs from PTI)