The surreal images of protestors storming the presidential palace and the prime minister’s residence represent the utter chaos that has engulfed Sri Lanka. The scenes of protestors having a free run inside the official residences may be disturbing, but they demonstrate the sheer power of street protests and the frustration of the people over the deepening economic crisis. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to flee the country and has since resigned. The Rajapaksa family is widely blamed for pushing the island nation into an unmanageable crisis, marked by shortages of food, fuel, and medicines for months.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has been elected as acting president but he remains deeply unpopular among Sri Lankans. The Parliament will elect a new president. The cash-starved nation of 22 million people has been witnessing tumultuous protests with angry citizens hitting the streets, demanding the resignation of the president and the prime minister. The economy now hangs by a thread and is dependent entirely on the ability of its political class to come swiftly to an arrangement to run the government. International aid agencies have said that some 7 million Sri Lankans, or one-third of its population, are facing hunger as food supplies have run out, or are out of reach for most. Sri Lanka has now fully run out of fuel and has pinned its hopes on two more shipments of fuel from India, of which the first is expected to reach only by the middle of next week. The new government will have to take over negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. The people of Sri Lanka have demonstrated their power by taking on powerful leaders and ensuring that they had to pay a price for their wrong policies. Democracy has won in Sri Lanka.