Asian Insider

Sri Lanka at a crossroads: Food and fuel shortages, mass protests and debt default

This week, for the first time in its history, Sri Lanka defaulted on its foreign debt. Mass protests have broken out over soaring food, fuel and power shortages. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is under pressure to quit for mishandling the nation’s worst economic crisis since independence. The Straits Times’ Rohini Mohan reports from the ground.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the economic crisis in Colombo, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
Catholic priests and sisters take part in a demonstration against the economic crisis in Colombo, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
A Buddhist monk takes part in a demonstration against the economic crisis in Colombo, on April 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
A protester holds a Sri Lankan national flag in front of the presidential secretariat during a protest in Colombo, on April 10, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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COLOMBO - As a scooter loaded with heavy rice sacks skidded on a rain-lashed road in Avissawella in Sri Lanka, three young men waiting in a snaking petrol queue ran to the rescue of the rider. Once assured that he was not injured, they asked the rider: "What did you pay for the rice?"

The response was: "Too much."

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