Medical students from universities across Sri Lanka clashed with police on Saturday (May 29), as they tried to break down barriers near the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Police responded by firing water cannon and tear gas.
Protesters are demanding that Rajapaksa resigns and takes responsibility for the unprecedented economic crisis.
Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million people, is reeling under its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with a severe shortage of foreign exchange severely curtailing imports, including essentials such as fuel and medicines.
The turmoil has come from the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the country’s lucrative tourism industry and foreign workers’ remittances, ill-timed tax cuts by Rajapaksa draining government coffers and rising oil prices.
Demonstrations have roiled Sri Lanka since late March, with protesters accusing the president and his powerful family of mishandling the economy.
(Production: Waruna Karunatilake, Edward Baran)