The GuardianThe Guardian

‘We’re finished’: Sri Lankans pushed to the brink by financial crisis

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen

09 Apr 2022 · 5 min read

While thousands of angry cries and anti-government slogans filled the streets of the Sri Lankan city Colombo on Saturday, Chanda Upul stood quietly nearby, desperately pushing his wares of soft drinks and bottled water on protesters. But in his heart he was chanting along with them.

Sri Lanka has descended into its worst financial crisis since independence, with food, fuel, medicine and electricity becoming increasingly scarce, and calls for the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa – frequently referred to as Gota – to step down. And 50-year-old Upul, who lives in a poor northern suburb of the city, is among those who have been pushed to the brink of survival.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content