A massive mob of protesters stormed the Sri Lankin presidential palace last week, forcing him to flee as they swam in the ground’s palatial pool.
Social media posts show the intruders also ransacking rooms, sleeping on sofas and even taking a shower in the residence.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has indicated that he will step down due July 13th due to the widespread dissatisfaction in the country. Massive unrest has been roiling Sri Lanka for weeks due to a continuing economic crisis.
The island nation is struggling with shortages of vital commodities. Food, energy and medical stockpiles have been in short supply. As a result, inflation is skyrocketing.
In June inflation hit 54.6%, with analysts predicting it could go as high as 70% percent in the coming months. In response, the Sri Lankin banks have raised interest rates at the same time the economy is contracting.
As the parliament struggles to impose austerity measures on the population, the government also is looking to the international banking community for help. The country has been in talks earlier this year with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible bailout loan.
Sri Lanka has also been approaching neighboring countries for help as well. India and China both have a keen interest in stability being restored.
International observers are particularly concerned about China’s so-called “help” given its history in the country. The Communist Party of China (CCP) has been leveraging the small nation with its classic debt trap diplomacy.
It has leased two of Sri Lanka’s ports for 100 years and it is the country’s largest note holder. The CCP is looking to use the chaos in the country to increase its control and continue China’s expansion in the region.
As the crisis moves forward, the opposition party is meeting to establish a new government given the head of the parliament is also expected to tender his resignation as well.
Whoever ends up taking the reins of power will have to deal with both the domestic challenges as well as foreign powers vying to use the situation to their advantage.