Martin Sandbu

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Protesters storm the Sri Lankan prime minister’s office in Colombo. While the country appears to have moved away from violent confrontation, the economy is mired in a profound crisis © Rafiq Maqbool/AP

In a more optimistic era, the overthrow by Sri Lankans of a feckless government they blamed for their country’s economic collapse might have been called a Velvet Revolution. It began last Saturday when tens of thousands descended on the largest city Colombo and poured into public buildings, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence, amid chants of “Gota, go home”.

The president had fled for his safety, but in scenes reminiscent of many 20th-century regime collapses, the crowds hunkered down in the palace, sitting behind the president’s desk, bathing in his pool, and showering in his bathrooms.

By week’s end Rajapaksa was indeed gone — first on a military jet to the Maldives, then to Singapore, from where he finally tendered his resignation via email.…  Seguir leyendo »