For Sri Lanka, a Long History of Violence – The New York Times

The country has also faced political tensions at the top.

An attempt to topple the prime minister last year resulted in a protracted constitutional crisis that threatened to break into violence. For a brief period, the country had two declared prime ministers at the same time.

President Maithripala Sirisena fired the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, last October. In his stead, he appointed the former president and strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

When it became clear that Mr. Rajapaksa did not have enough votes in Parliament to make him prime minister, Mr. Sirisena dissolved the body.

The two-month crisis brought the country to a standstill. Clashes alternated between the streets, where thousands of supporters from each side marched, and the Parliament, where lawmakers broke into fistfights and even hurled chile powder at one another.

Mr. Rajapaksa finally backed down and Mr. Wickremesinghe remained prime minister.


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