On Thursday, Sri Lankans celebrated their traditional new year by sharing mil rice, oil cakes in front of their president’s office where they had been campaigning for the sixth consecutive day, demanding his resignation over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Soldiers injured in the civil conflict on the island lit a fire, Buddhist monks chanted holy prayers while others blew off crackers with chanting: Victory of the people’s struggle.
Sinhalese New Year
The Sinhalese New Year usually falls on April 13th and 14th, representing the end of the previous year and the beginning of the new one. It's an indication of spring, reminding Sri Lankans that it’s time for a variety of celebrations, distributing sweet delights, and playing Rabanna (one-sided traditional drum).
But this year the situation is a bit different, food and apparel prices have risen due to rising inflation, resulting in less crowded markets than normal for the new year.
Children amid the crisis
One of the protesters Dilani Niranjala who attended the protest along with her husband and children said, “Other days our children go to their grandparents to celebrate the new year, but today we brought them here to show them the real situation in the country.”
She further added that they don’t want to lie to kids about what’s currently happening in the country when they are celebrating the new year.
The ongoing economic crisis
The situation in Sri Lanka is getting worse day by day, thousands of people have taken streets to protest against the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.
Protesters have taken over the entrance of the president’s office and blamed him and his government for the crisis. They are now asking him and his powerful family to leave, accusing him of corruption and mismanagement.
Hundreds of vehicles queued in Colombo for more than a mile to buy petrol, residents waiting in long lines with plastic containers to get kerosene which is used for cooking.
Rajapaksas refuses to resign
Despite the political family being targeted by the general public with people demanding their resignation, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his older brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa still remain in power, refusing to resign even as the crisis and protests still continue.