(Update: The president has now resigned – Ed.) Thousands of protesters stormed Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence as part of an anti-government demonstration calling for his resignation following the country’s economic collapse.
Demonstrators marched to Sri Lanka’s commercial capital of Colombo early Saturday. They jumped security fences surrounding the residence and overran the president’s security forces. Rajapaksa was evacuated from the palace around 1000 local time, his secretary Gamini Senarath told Bloomberg.
“The president was escorted to safety,” a senior defense source told AFP. “He is still the president, he is being protected by a military unit.”
Alleged footage of the president fleeing on a naval ship.
Footage uploaded to social media platforms from the president’s residence shows thousands of protesters surrounding the palace and then charging inside.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held emergency talks with party leaders before the parliament speaker during the unrest to decide what was next in resolving the worsening socio-economic crisis in the country of 22 million people.
Lawmakers asked Rajapaksa to relinquish his power to allow a new leader with a parliament majority to regain control and find a swift resolution to high inflation and shortages that have angered people for months.
The debt-laden economy of the tiny South Asian nation has “completely collapsed” as it lacks foreign exchange reserves to import essential items such as food and fuel. Shortages have materialized as the government began rationing goods last month.
Even though the government has held talks with the IMF, India, China, and Japan for new credit lines and even spoke with Russia about purchasing heavily discounted crude, the country entered a terminal phase where social unrest is spiraling out of control.
Visual Capitalist’s Avery Koop details several reasons for this crisis and the economic turmoil has sparked unrest over the last several months. This visual breaks down some of the elements that led to Sri Lanka’s current situation.
The Sri Lankan crisis carries the potential for an Arab Spring-style eruption across other countries that could quickly morph into an “Everywhere Spring” as people worldwide are angered by high inflation and shortage of food and fuel. This eruption in unrest could eclipse the revolution seen in 2011 that spread across the Arabic-speaking world due to high food prices.
Everyone’s favorite permabear, SocGen’s Albert Edwards, first warned about the consequences of central banks injecting record amounts of money into the global economy in late 2020 and how it could spark soaring food prices, similar to 2011, where social unrest and revolutions were seen in many Arab countries.
Edwards’ prediction appears to be playing out. It could be much worse than a decade ago as much of the world experiences economic hardships and what some believe could be the emergence of stagflation.
Could the fall of Sri Lanka signal that weak, heavily indebted countries worldwide are about to fall like dominos?
Top image: Telegraph India
By Tyler Durden